At 6 feet 4 inches tall, Paul Darragh, RIT’s new Student Government president, certainly stands out in a crowd. But on campus, the aptly nicknamed “Tall Paul” fits in as an involved RIT Tiger who hopes to shift the focus of Student Government back onto the student body.
Darragh, a third-year software engineering student from North Attleboro, Mass., became involved with student life before even arriving on campus, at the Student Send-Off program in Boston. The program, which is held in several metropolitan areas including New York City and Washington, D.C., allows incoming students and their parents to meet current students to ask questions and learn more about RIT.
“I was already excited to get involved with the university, but after I heard former Student Government president Greg Pollock’s speech during the Academic Convocation, I just couldn’t wait,” says Darragh. “I had never been involved with student government in high school, but Greg’s speech made me feel like I could really make a difference.”
Right away, Darragh attended several RIT Leadership Institute and Community Service Center events, eventually becoming a member of the student advisory board. He also discovered an opportunity to get involved with Student Government as a freshman senator.
“During that first orientation week, I was already asking people what they would like to see improved,” Darragh says. Throughout his time at RIT, Darragh has also been a resident adviser and a member of both the Society of Software Engineers and Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.
“Being a proud member of Phi Kappa Tau helped me learn how to structure my time and get more involved in giving back to the community on a regular basis,” says Darragh.
“A Phi Tau alum even helped me get my first co-op with Synchronous Technologies, a software company in Bethlehem, Pa.”
Following the end of his freshman senator term in June 2012, Darragh ran for Student Government president along with his vice presidential candidate, Nick Cifranic, a third-year information security and forensics major from Cleveland.
The duo wants to create a more engaged campus where students will visit Student Government more often to share their ideas, problems and questions. They hope to require professors to use MyCourses for grades and assignments, implement video recordings of certain classes for students who miss class due to illness or are on co-op interviews, and begin designing a bike rental system for quick and sustainable travel across campus.
Having played hockey since he was 5 years old, Darragh continues to play for fun and cheers for RIT’s men’s and women’s hockey teams as a member of the Corner Crew. In the future, he hopes to work in software development and project management.
He adds: “I’m really excited to hear more about what the students want and to work to get it done in the coming year.”