Student trustee addresses key issues, talks solutions
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 18:10
Student Trustee Ari Shroyer kicked off his two-year term last year after ascending through the Student Government Association, transitioning from SGA president into his current position. Inspired by the trustee who served before him, Shroyer has already exhibited leadership and involvement in several outlets such as SGA, RU Proud and the RU Historical Society.
Midway through a busy semester, Shroyer sat down with the Torch to talk in detail about issues plaguing the campus and student government. Below are some of the key issues discussed.
Cafeteria portions and prices:
“I’ve heard from students that most of those concerns have been rectified just by the cafeteria itself listening to the student perspective and making accommodations. What I’m going to do, probably within the next week, is check in with a couple students that I know habitually go to the cafeteria, just anecdotally see how they’re doing.”
Shroyer said he will also be checking in with cafeteria staff to get their perspective on the issue and bring the problem up to the Board of Trustees next month.
Fears surrounding new senator election process:
“Don’t be fearful because it’s not that tough. Roosevelt students are some of the most open people I have ever met in my life; that’s why I love this school. I think it’s much easier, I mean this is not a large school by any means. We’ve got a pretty friendly population, so I think those fears are ill-founded, and I think that it’s important to get a little more confidence in what you’re trying to do. Secondly, the election model is about as open as I think you can get it.”
According to Shroyer the new election process is not only more transparent, but due to the staggered elections—electing 11 senators each semester—it gives students opportunities each semester to run as opposed to waiting an entire year.
“You lose, you learn, you lick your wounds and then you come back. If you believe in yourself and, more importantly, if you believe the things that you’re trying to make happen. If you don’t have things that you’re trying to make happen, if you don’t have a case, I don’t understand why you’re trying to be a leader in the first place.”
Combatting student apathy:
“You gotta get an incentive for people to come to the door, but it’s got to not be a waste of their time. And that’s a tricky balance to make. I don’t think I do have all the answers; this is something we’re all sort of discovering together. I do have a lot of faith in the freshman that we have, in the sophomores that we have.”
Shroyer said he understands that most students are busy with work and class, but that only means student government needs to work harder and emphasize outreach further to aggregate as much information as possible.
“It’s gotta be meaningful, and you’ve got to have a sense of ownership. I try and be pretty honest with everyone I meet and I say: ‘Well, you’re paying X amount to go here, certainly you’re getting great things from your classes, you’re getting great things from your peers just in informal social circumstances, but how much more can you get if you really till the earth that is Roosevelt?’”
“It’s all about having a more rewarding, more fulfilling experience. So, I don’t know how you get people to just stop and think in those terms, but I can only do it on the individual basis with each person I meet, and I think if we all do that, that’s how you make an effect.”
Gender-Neutral Housing on campus:
“You’ve got more and more students that have come, especially in the new cohorts, that are really thrilled by this idea. And then you also have examples at other universities where they have implemented it successfully. I think that’s what it was all about, just making sure we do this in the right way that’s fair for everybody.”
“Of course, you know, being a gay man I sympathize so much with this new gender identity movement. It’s an important conversation for this country and world to have. Get rid of that awful gender binary and the stereotypes that come with it. Houses of education need to be at the forefront of that conversation, that’s our obligation, but I think it all comes down to choice...You should have the freedom to live with whomever you want.”
What’s next for SGA:
Currently, Shroyer has lined up meetings with Linda Jones, associate provost of undergraduate studies, regarding the Advising Center and Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences Lynn Weiner, about things that might need to be done before she leaves that role. Shroyer said having student contribution in finding a new dean is also important.
“Just making sure that our advising process is making sense. That people are being told, you’re supposed to take this class or that class, and it actually is the truth. You know, so they can graduate on time, they don’t have to take extra classes that they don’t need and shouldn’t have to pay for.”