Student Government President Paul Darragh, a third-year software engineering major, addressed the crowd during convocation on Wednesday. The text of his speech is below.
“Why in the world is ‘groundbreaking’ printed on all of your shirts? It is a challenge to all of you to get involved at RIT!
“I accepted this challenge two years ago and it is the reason I am standing up here today. By the way my name is Paul Darragh, or Tall Paul if it helps. I am excited to be this year’s Student Government president! A few years ago I sat down there listening to a theme titled ‘Dream Big,’ by a student rocking this an orange blazer that I thought looked so hideous that it resulted in me leaning over to the kid next to me and saying, ‘did he lose a bet?’ Well I must have lost the same bet, and I am now standing up here letting you know this is the best bet I ever lost. Why might you ask? Well I got involved, made great friends, and now I get to talk to all of you, about how you can get involved.
“One thing you probably won’t hear at RIT is students saying, ‘I am so bored, there is never anything here to do.’ If all you do is go to class and never leave your room, then yeah, RIT is a pretty boring place; however, if you are a brave soul and wish to take my challenge, you will soon turn to any student who dares to utter those words, and say, ‘What do you mean there is nothing to do here, there is never enough time in the day to do everything that I want to do!’
“Well guess what? This is a three part challenge:
“Part one: Try playing some sort of sport here! We have everything from Division I hockey to intramural Quidditch. That’s right, I said Quidditch. It’s harder than you’d think! We also love to cheer on our sports teams, from friends supporting their floor intramural team to the rowdy Corner Crew that cheers on our men’s and women’s hockey teams.
“Part two: Go out to the Get Involved Fair this Saturday, and sign up for at least one club. We offer everything from the Electronic Gaming Society to Greek life! Though if you think we are missing a club or organization, and you are feeling just a little ambitious, then you can easily create your own!
“Part three: Check out at least one campus event each week! We have Residential Life events designed for meeting everyone on your floor, College Actives Board hosting major concerts to weekly movie nights, and many other club and organization events going on all the time! One such event that everyone gets involved in whether they want to or not is Humans vs. Zombies. This is essentially a giant week long game of tag that is played with Nerf guns, flying socks, and the occasional kid jumping out of a tree or bush. No matter what you do that week you will be dodging Nerf darts, laughing as students gets chased around campus by a swarm of zombies, and wondering who came up with such a great game.
“Despite the absurdity and surprises you’re in for at RIT, you’re going to find that you are drawn to particular events, activities and friends. Jump into those, and if you ever need help finding exactly what those are, then look around at all of the student leaders here now. Some of your biggest supporters at RIT are in this room in the form of Resident Advisors and Orientation Assistants! They are waiting to help and are eager to guide you as you navigate the trails of RIT. All of them were in your shoes at one point, and can vouch that it might not seem it, but you are the new leaders on campus. I guarantee by the end of the year each one of you will have left a mark! Come impress us with your talent, passion and vision for your perfect RIT.
“Have fun with the rest of orientation! If you remember one thing from my speech, keep your door open, talk—or sign—to everyone, and know that if something looks fun, then it probably is. Don’t be afraid to come talk to anyone in a leadership role from your Resident Adviser to Dr. Destler himself. We might ROAR occasionally, but we never bite! Have a nice day!”