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 initiative. 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).