Farid Barquet, a third-year biotechnology and biomedical sciences student, is the director of programming for RIT’s Student Government. Barquet, from Mexico City, Mexico, has played a major role in the organization of Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend. This year will bring Brandon Stanton, the man who created the popular Humans of New York blog and books depicting portraits of life and individuals in New York City, to campus as the Student Government Horton Distinguished Speaker on Oct. 15.
Stanton will speak at 2 p.m. in the Gordon Field House. Student tickets can be purchased for $5 each.
Question: What brought you to RIT?
Answer: Coming from Mexico City, I didn’t know much about college in the United States, but I knew that for biotechnology I could get the best education here. I actually just Googled “schools with biotechnology programs” and RIT showed up as the first school in the country to offer a degree in biotech. After I applied and got in, I came and visited campus and I instantly fell in love with it. It sounds really corny, but I felt like I belonged here, and I haven’t once regretted my decision to come here since.
Q: How did you become involved with Student Government?
A: I ran for freshman senator my first year here, and while I made it to the final rounds and presented to senate, I didn’t get the position. Then, my second year, I was debating on trying to get involved again, but one of my friends really encouraged me to apply because he felt that I could do good things with Student Government. I applied to be the College of Health Sciences and Technology senator, and I ended up being chosen for the position. After my year as a senator, I really saw all that Student Government does for this campus, and I wanted to get more involved so I decided to apply for director of programming, which is the role that I hold now.
Q: What are your responsibilities as the director of programming?
A: I am in charge of planning and organizing all Student Government events, both internal and external. My biggest responsibilities include planning our Horton Speaker, the student government Soiree at the end of the year and events like Dunkin’ with your Delegates. I’ve also been working on a new initiative, called Project SpiRIT, that we officially launched last week as an effort to increase school spirit and attendance at campus events.
Q: What led RIT’s Student Government to choosing Brandon Stanton as this year’s guest speaker?
A: I actually wasn’t involved in the decision, as choosing a speaker requires a lot of time and planning, so that was actually discussed in cabinet last year, with the previous director of programming, Ellen Raffaelle. After learning more about Brandon, I think that he has a really inspirational story about following your passions and dreams, and that a lot of students can relate to him. He has given a voice to so many people around the world. Now we want to hear what he has to say.
Q: How much time and effort went into organizing and planning for this upcoming weekend?
A: A lot! Over the course of the past eight weeks I have had weekly meetings with our adviser, Bill St. Jean, to discuss event logistics, what service providers (such as Tech Crew, FMS, Production Services, RITA, Interpreting, etc.) were going to be needed, how to advertise the event, what contests to do for free tickets and a lot more! Luckily, I am not alone, and I have had the support from an amazing PR team with Student Government, a lot of advice from Andrea (Shaver), our president, and the help of all the senators to get the word out. I couldn’t have done it without them.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the weekend?
A: There’s so many events to choose from! Other than the Horton Speaker, I am really looking forward to the homecoming hockey game on Saturday. While I am not the biggest hockey fan, I really like the spirit of RIT hockey, and homecoming games are always a lot of fun. My fraternity is also doing an event called Haunted Trail on Thursday and Friday, and it’s always a fun time to turn the woods behind Gracie’s into a “haunted forest.”
Q: How has your involvement with Student Government shaped your time at RIT?
A: It has been an amazing experience. I have grown so much as a leader and I’ve learned how to handle myself more professionally. It has given me the opportunity to meet so many different people, both students and administrators, and I’ve made some awesome friendships while being a member. With the number of people I’ve met, I can always walk down the Quarter Mile and see a friendly face, which is a really great feeling. More importantly, it has shown me that we can actually make a difference if we put in the effort. Being in Student Government has given me the appropriate skills to deal with different situations, conflicts or just general challenges that I may face in the future.
Q: What are your professional goals following your graduation from RIT?
A: I want to go on to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in genetics, and I eventually want to be certified as a genetic counselor. I actually just figured this out recently, so I am very excited to learn more about how I’ll be able to pursue this in the future.
Lauren Peace compiles “Student Spotlight” for University News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions.