(Q) How long have you been president of the class of 2011?
(RN) I have been president since fall 2007, all four years, it’s been a college career.
(Q) What originally made you want to be president?
(RN) It was actually an assignment in my English 111 class. I inquired about it and I was in contact with Denise [Bentley-Drobish, director of Student Life] Since then I’ve advised other class councils. We had the first active class council in a while. They always technically existed but weren’t active until I decided to run.
(Q) What was your biggest goal originally and how is it coming?
(RN) My biggest goal was to actually establish a class government with an E-Board for every year. I’ve really worked hard to make sure we make them solid so future years have them. It’s coming along really well. We have the freshmen leadership program now, which is essentially a freshmen class council. Student Life picks freshmen at orientation and introduces them to leadership. My goal was to have success all four years and I think I’ve had that.
(Q) What was your biggest challenge?
(RN) Probably getting interest. When I started it was only two people from my English class, a president and vice president. Since then we’ve really tried to get people interested in such a topic but it is particularly hard to understand since so many people are in between class status. Where as in high school or other colleges it might be easier. Southern isn’t as clear cut because of that ambiguity as to what class you really are. People aren’t so interested in supporting their class at Southern until senior year when they’re about to graduate.
(Q) What have you done to get people motivated?
(RN) I think we’ve done a really good job since freshmen year when no one even knew we existed. Different events, meeting socials, workshops and even now as we’re planning the trip. We’ve come a long way in gaining interest.
(Q) Speaking of the class trip, what is the current status?
(RN) We were going to Cozumel but we had to change that because of low enrollment. We just looked into Puerto Rico and prices were too high. Hopefully next week we’ll have another location. It will definitely be something seniors can afford, Cozumel obviously wasn’t, and something they’ll enjoy.
(Q) Are there any other ideas?
(RN) We’re looking at Miami Beach, Virginia Beach, and Puerto Rico is still an option but we’re trying to negotiate a price. Regardless of where we go it’s going to be somewhere enjoyable, cheaper than Cozumel and represent something our council thinks the seniors want.
(Q) Can seniors give suggestions or express their concerns?
(RN) If they have any ideas or concerns they can contact me, I’m always available. There are Facebook groups, Twitter, shoot me an e-mail. Any class officers actually could help. We have a group, “SCSU Senior Class of 2011,” you can search for more information.
(Q) What is the biggest change you’ve overseen on campus over the past four years?
(RN) I think the biggest change I’ve witnessed is students are more able to see and take advantage of leadership opportunities presented to them because they can see the long term aspects. I think that’s largely thanks to Student Life. Looking back, a lot of my friends weren’t involved and now it’s different. It’s really transformed into something people want to do and take advantage whether it’s Greek Life, SGA, or class council. This is the first year I’ve seen all class councils active which makes me really happy as a senior.
(Q) What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned that you’d like to share with younger leaders?
(RN) Never give up on something you really want to see. When I was a freshman I told my English professor I was going to be Senior Class President and have a big E-Board to make decisions. It was hard to get things accomplished, but I worked hard and my council worked hard and now we have a big E-Board and an important voice in the university. It shows if you want something bad enough, don’t give up.
(Q) What is your final group goal?
(RN) To finish our mark that we’re leaving on Southern’s campus. We’re the first class council to transition all four years. As we wind down our eighth semester we’re trying to solidify that as a model for future classes which I think we’re accomplishing with Student Life.
(Q) Will you be speaking at graduation?
(RN) Yes. I’m probably going to include some lessons I’ve learned as a person and as a leader and what you can accomplish if you really put your mind to it and if you want it bad enough.