Candidate Questions

Undergraduate President candidate profile: Ria Massoni

By The Poly March 22, 2022

The Polytechnic asked the candidate for Undergraduate President to discuss her goals and leadership experience and to reflect on Student Government as a whole. Here are her responses.

[Editor’s note: The following was edited for clarity and for The Poly's grammatical and mechanical style.]

Why do you want to be Undergraduate President?

I am running for Undergraduate President because I believe I have the skills, experience, and dedication necessary to make a positive impact within the Undergraduate Council, the Class Councils, and within the undergraduate student body. Student government has given me many opportunities to foster stronger relationships, and as the Undergraduate President, I wish to share these bonds and experiences with my classmates. Working with the Class Councils, I hope we can increase connections between classes and advance communication between student government and the student body to form a better community.

Describe your experience in student government.

I have been involved in student government since I was first elected Class of 2024 Vice President in the Fall 2020 elections, and then as Class of 2024 President since the March 2021 elections. As Vice President, I advocated for the Class of 2024 and influenced decisions regarding improved residential policies and increased activities and gatherings on campus. As Class President, I have been responsible for many activities and events, such the Sophomore Ice Cream Social with President Jackson, our class formal, class hockey night, Fall Fest, and more. I have also been an active member of the Undergraduate Council since I was elected Vice President in Fall of 2020, where I have reformed the internal structure and would like to continue to do so. Additionally, I am a member of the Undergraduate Council’s Arch Task Force, where we advocate for students who are preparing for the Arch and those who are currently on their Arch Away Semesters. Finally, I am the Publicity Director for the Student Senate’s Facilities and Services Committee (FSC) and have been involved with FSC since Spring 2021.

List your campus activities, including levels of involvement, positions held, and awards received.

Outside of student government, I am the Panhellenic Director of Communications and a member of Pi Beta Phi

Name three short-term goals (within your term of office) and three long-term goals (beyond your term of office) that you have for the Undergraduate Council.

Short Term Goals:

  • Improve training for Class Councils and new members through a targeted, class specific approach that will increase Class Council knowledge of their respective budgets and the budgeting process, and by coordinating mentors between the older and younger Class Councils
  • Build upon the current Arch Task Force to improve the Arch preparation, summer, and away experiences including increased communication about the processes, exemptions, and deadlines
  • Host several undergraduate-wide events with the Class Councils to foster connections within and between the classes

Long Term Goals:

  • Advocate for student representation and increased communication with the administration to improve transparency
  • Establish clear and consistent communication channels between the Class Councils and their respective classes to increase the engagement of the undergraduate community
  • Refine and further develop council documentation so that future classes may reference the work, ideas, and advice of previous classes

In your own words, what do you feel are the roles of the Undergraduate President, the Undergraduate Council, and the Class Councils?

The role of each of the Class Councils is to foster a sense of community within their class through events, activities, and symbolic traditions such as the class logo, class quote, class tree, and class ring. The role of the Undergraduate President is to unify the undergraduate classes and serve as a mentor to each of the Class Councils and their class leadership. The Undergraduate President should aid each Class Council and create a space within the Undergraduate Council where each of the classes can share ideas and offer advice. The Undergraduate President also oversees the Undergraduate Council, and they are responsible for working with other student leaders to advocate for the undergraduate student body. The role of the Undergraduate Council is to hold events and activities to create a sense of community between undergraduates. It is also responsible for approving Class Council budgets and coordinating events, but more importantly, it is responsible for creating a means of communication with the Class Councils and their respective classes.

What do you think are the incumbent Undergraduate President’s strengths and weaknesses? What would you do to improve upon them if you were elected?

The strengths of current Undergraduate President Rhea Banerjee, lies in her ability to aid class councils in their time of need or during stressful situations. She has also created an open environment within the Undergraduate Council, where Class Presidents and Vice Presidents freely offer advice and ideas to other Class Councils. One of her weaknesses, however, is in her lack of communication with the undergraduate student body; most students are unaware that the Undergraduate Council exists and sponsors programming for the undergraduate student body, and most do not know that the Undergraduate Council and the Undergraduate President support and advocate for them. As Undergraduate President, I would ensure that positions such as the Publicity Director are filled and are actively spreading awareness about the Undergraduate Council and the Class Councils. Additionally, the incumbent Undergraduate President struggled to effectively train the incoming Class Councils when first elected. To improve Class Council training, I would ensure that it occurs on a class by class basis, so as to adequately fit the needs of each Class Council and to offer the necessary amount of support.