Issue #12– January 23, 2009
Matt Danna Represents the Student Voice!
by: Tess Kittelberger, Special Projects Coordinator
Interviewer: Matt, tell me a little about yourself-where you’re from, major, your favorite thing about RIT…..?
Matt: Well I am from Grafton, MA, but it’s my third year here at RIT. Last year I was a Resident Assistant in Ellingson which got me more involved on campus. I also enjoy RIT hockey games and CAB events.
Interviewer: How is your experience living in University Commons?
Matt: It’s fun. It’s my first year in UC and I live with the President of SG and it’s a pretty happy apartment. Having your own room allows you to be independent, but the common space is great for everyone to hang out.
Interviewer: Do you feel a sense of community in the apartments that is separate from campus?
Matt: I do not see a strong sense of community. People are too busy and do not have time to get to know others. Community Advocates need to get students out of their rooms. I do not see as much programming as in the dorms. It would be nice to know neighbors.
Interviewer: When and why did you start to get involved with SG?
Matt: I was elected freshman senator. I saw things that needed to be changed. Free laundry on campus and increased ASL classes were big projects I worked on.
Interviewer: What is the most rewarding part of your VP position and involvement with SG?
Matt: Well I supervise other student leaders and serve as a mentor. I oversee all the Senators and conduct one-on-ones with them. Also, the Dorm Challenge is in effect right now. A few administrators are living in the freshman dorms for a few days and experiencing dorm life hands on.
Interviewer: What has been your biggest accomplishment as a student as VP of SG?
Matt: Being elected as Freshman Senator was a big deal for me. Last year I was in charge of all clubs, so I revised the process of establishing a club and there are now 40 more clubs on campus. First quarter of this academic year I filled in for the SG president and now the Dorm Challenge are two big accomplishments this year.
Interviewer: What has been your biggest struggle as a student and VP?
Matt: Spending time with friends is extremely limited right now. There are only so many hours in the day. With a part time job, SG and classes, my time is crucial.
Interviewer: I understand some big issues SG is working on is a bus stop over in Rustic Village, bridging the gap between administration and the student body and more common spaces and improved laundry facilities, but what is your main concern as a student?
Matt: The overall satisfaction of the student body is low. There are a lot of little things that need to be changed or fixed. The dorms are overcrowded. There is no wireless internet which will be changing soon. People are getting double parking tickets and when people lose their ID card they are being charged. These little things build up over time.
Interviewer: What issues do students mostly see as unfair and how do you encourage students to voice their concerns?
Matt: Each student’s experience is so different. From living in the dorms or the apartments to having a different major, everything and everyone is so independent. I would tell students to keep pressing their issues. Many departments encourage students to speak up, but students perceive that they do not have a voice. Speaking to anyone from academic advisors to club advisors to your peers can make a difference.
Interviewer: Do you or SG have any issues relating specifically towards the advocacy of the apartment residents?
Matt: Of course there is a lot of remodeling going on such as the reconstruction of the Riverknoll area. We are always concerned about quality since the apartments are getting older. However, we generally hear more from the freshman because students in the apartments are a little more independent.
Interviewer: Are you part of any other organizations on campus?
Matt: As a freshman, I was part of ArtHouse which is a special interest floor in the dorms. However, now SG takes up most of my time.
Interviewer: What is one goal you would like to achieve this year? Personally and SG related?
Matt: Personally, I want to spend more time with my friends and do typical college things. With SG I would like to see administration more in tuned with student issues. The faculty does not spend enough time getting to know the student body. We need to be more in touch. So the Dorm Challenge is a start.
Interviewer: What are your future plans? Do they relate to SG at all?
Matt: I plan on going to graduate school. I am thinking of going out to the west coast to study Human Computer Interaction. In terms of SG, I have toyed with the Student Affairs idea, but we will see.
For more articles from this issue, click here