Meet Darcie Jones, RIT’s Student Government president

Darcie Jones aims to better connect with students and encourage more participation

Travis LaCoss/RIT

Darcie Jones, this year’s Student Government president, wants to see more student involvement.

Darcie Jones exceled at science and math while growing up, so her father urged her to pursue engineering.

“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s gross. Why would I do that?’ Then there was an aerospace engineering class I took as a sophomore in high school. And I just fell in love,” she said.

A visit to Rochester Institute of Technology locked engineering in her future.

“I came for a tour and I remember walking next to the Brinkman Machine Tools and Manufacturing Lab in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and I just stopped and stared and the whole tour kept walking around the corner.”

Jones, a fifth-year mechanical engineering major from Reading, Pa., is this year’s Student Government president, representing more than 19,000 students on RIT’s Henrietta and overseas campuses. There were four sets of candidates this year, the most in recent history. This year’s Student Government vice president is J.T. Lapham, a fourth-year biochemistry major from Queensbury, N.Y.

Jones remembers what it was like being a new student at RIT and feels that will help her relate to what this year’s new students may be experiencing. Her advice to them: “Get involved and embrace change. There’s going to be a lot of change, and I was always afraid of change. But it’s actually all good.”

Jones and Lapham campaigned on a platform they call the Three C’s:

Collaboration: Bring back Project SpiRIT, which will reward students to attend RIT-sponsored events. The program, originally launched in 2016, is intended to promote more student activity at events by having them earn points for each event they attend. Those points may be redeemed for prizes.

Communication: Help students better understand what Student Government does, with weekly updates, a frequent newsletter, and showing more day-to-day activities in Student Government, perhaps by following a senator’s day on Instagram. This could also help get more students involved in various committees.

Change: Reestablish a deaf advocacy committee in Student Government. Last year, that committee merged with their accessibility committee. “We found out there are a lot of accessibility needs. And we found out there are a lot of needs of deaf individuals. So we want to reestablish that committee. And I want to work with Career Services to make the career fair a lot better for non-technical majors,” said Jones.

Her involvement in Student Government began last year, when she applied and became the senator representing the College of Engineering.

“I applied on a whim,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow, it would be cool to be in Student Government someday.’ I was away at co-op, feeling very alone, and I wanted to make new friends and make new connections. So I figured Student Government was the way to go.”

She ran for president this year because she felt that during her time in Student Government last year, “I didn’t think that we did enough with our power. We have a seat at the table all the time, but we didn’t always do anything with it. I’m passionate about a lot of different things myself, a lot of issues people brought to me last year, so I was like, ‘the best way to make a change is to run for president.’”

Her array of ideas span several topics because she’s been in tune with many students throughout her college career. She welcomes interacting with even more students this coming year.

“I’m pretty open,” she said. “I know a lot of people in a lot of different walks of life. I have international students in my classes. I have a lot of friends on varsity sports teams and I learn a lot about their issues, as well as from the College of Engineering. I was really connected with a lot of the senators from last year, from all the different colleges, so I got to learn all about what’s on their minds.”

Jones played goalie for four years on the women’s varsity soccer team, making it to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time ever, and winning their first playoff game on campus.

Other than soccer, in her spare time, Jones calls her mother almost every day to ask her “a million questions about life.” She loves to watch reality competition shows such as The Amazing Race, Big Brother, and Survivor and is a huge Minnesota Vikings fan (because her dad is). She planned to watch last year’s game with her boyfriend against the Bills in Buffalo, but had to miss it to play in the NCAA soccer tournament.

She drinks a lot of coffee and is a proud Swiftie. Jones and her sister, Delaney, attended a Taylor Swift concert in Philadelphia in May.

And she has already met with many RIT administrators, as well as RIT’s chairman of the Board of Trustees, Jeff Harris.

“They all seem eager to hear anything I have to say and are really open to anything, which is nice,” she said.

“I already have meetings all the time. It’s like I’m double working this summer. At my co-op, I have a double monitor. One is for my actual work, and one is for Student Government. My boss walks over and asks, ‘What’s going on in the Student Government world today?’”

Jones knows this last year for her at RIT will go fast. And she’s already had three companies reach out to her to start her career with them upon graduation.

But she has some work to do as Student Government president before that happens.

“I think, ‘Oh, my God, I’m actually doing this,’” she said. “I’m really excited.”

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