RUSA Spring 2014 Presidential Candidate Q&A

RUSA Spring 2014 Presidential Candidate Q&A:
Personal Information:
Name: Kristine Baffo
Graduating Year: May 2015
Major and Minor: Political Science and Africana Studies
Other Clubs: United Black Council
1. What would be your number one priority as President of RUSA?
My number one priority as student body president would be to address shared
governance within the university; shared governance meaning student
representation and empowerment on multiple administrative and non
administrative boards throughout the university. This initiative can be started
creating a centralized list of current shared governance models in the university
to provide to the undergraduate population. Since shared governance has a
multifaceted approach to student representation, it will allow students to
become active in roles best suited towards their needs and the needs of students.
2. What projects or initiatives have you worked on as a member of RUSA?
Please list them, their current status, and the role that you played within the
My first initiative and work for RUSA began this year at new student
orientation. As a member of the executive board, I felt it crucial to inform
incoming students about the roles and duties of the Rutgers University Student
Assembly. More important, I felt it was important as a student senator to
welcome the first year’s students to Rutgers.
As my role as senator leader in RUSA, I am currently working on establishing
professionalism and unity throughout SAS senate and governing councils senate
positions. I have also piloted a senate-debriefing meeting in which I chaired the
meeting. This allows student senators to work and discuss issues such as
textbooks, tuition, and student power to better represent the student population.
The conversation surrounding, textbook, tuition, and student power has lead
to the fruitful creation of subcommittees between the student senators. The
subcommittee on textbooks was able effectively work with other student
organizations on campus to discuss alternatives to textbook policies. With the
help of these organizations, a list of faculty members that are willing to look at
textbook alternatives was achieved. The subcommittee is currently in the
process of contacting faculty members and deans to explore its feasibility.
3. Please list all of your past leadership positions within RUSA.
Summer 2013- Association of Big Ten Students- Rutgers Senate Delegate
Winter 2014- Association of Big Ten Student – Rutgers Senate Delegate
2012-2013- Douglass Senator, SAS Senate Leader (Executive Board member)
2013-2014- SAS Senator at Large, SAS Senate Leader (Executive Board member)
4. Outline your vision of what RUSA should be. You can interpret this in any way
you see fit.
RUSA should be a body that actively seeks to attend the meeting of
organizations, rather than relying solely on representatives from different
organizations to make a presence. RUSA as a body of student leaders should
prioritize service to the Rutgers University and the New Brunswick community.
My vision for RUSA stems passed the immediate image of “ a body that passes
legislation” (Although this is important) I see RUSA as a means of
communication and a place for student to address their issues with student,
staff, administration, or the RUSA body itself. My vision for RUSA is one where
students feel comfortable voicing their opinions no matter how polarizing the
issues at hand can be.
5. Outline your vision of the ideal relationship between students, faculty, and
staff at Rutgers.
The University Senate, a joint governing body of students’ faculty and staff,
proposes a step to an ideal vision of collaboration. In committee meetings
students are to university matters in an informal setting. This creates an
environment where students feel comfortable expressing their opinions to staff
and faculty. My ideal vision would take this further. It would students that every
student that was willing, not just senators, a space to discuss the pro and cons of
university policy.
6. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Rutgers Students today?
The biggest challenge facing Rutgers students on and off campus today is
certainly public and campus safety. With the extension of the Clery Act students
are becoming more informed about crime on and off campus. However,
resources offered by the university with regards to public and campus safety
should be equally advertised.
7. How do you plan to develop leaders within RUSA?
If elected into office, I would like to revisit an idea previous made several RUSA
members. This is the idea of a RUSA mentoring program. This gives the
opportunity for both the mentor and mentee to learn new things about RUSA
and themselves. Furthermore, it would allow each individual the attention they
need in order to develop their leadership skills. Traditional methods of leader
training would also be utilized to develop all the leaders within RUSA.
8. What is RUSA's greatest strength and RUSA’s greatest weakness and how
would you go about addressing it?
The strength of RUSA this year has been its relationship with administration.
Students were ale to have ideas address that may have been previously
neglected due to this shift in paradigm. However, RUSA’s greatest weakness is
its mode of communication to the student body population. This year RUSA
made immense improvements in letting the student body know our initiates.
The weakness is that this is not institutionalized. This can be addressed by
making a RUSA newsletter, which can be sent out to students, to inform student
of the work the body conducts.
9. How would you go about bringing student leaders together to work on
common goals?
If into office, the Vice Chancellor’s Student Advisory committee would serve
as the basis for gaining contact with a variety of student leaders (as many of
them will be present in the room). From there, I would be able to establish a
meeting setting similar to the pilot senate debriefing structure I implemented to
discuss student issues.
10. What is one major change you would like to see at the University? And what
do you perceive to be RUSA’s role/non-role in addressing this issue.
I would like to see a student-voting representative on the highest governing
board at the university, the Board of Governors. This will allow students to have
input in decisions that directly affect their quality of life while at Rutgers
University. It would be RUSA’s role find and endorse a candidate that the body
and student population believes could best serve the student interest.
11. What would be the first thing that you would do as RUSA President if elected?
The first thing that I would do if elected president would be to work on setting
up a town hall or event for the early months of the next school year, so that can
would be able to meet their student representatives. My first thing would be to
let students know who I am and that I available as a resource. (This would be
separate from orientation).