The Rider News recently had a chance to catch up with Brian Guzman, president of the Lawrenceville Student Government Association. Guzman, a senior history major, answered questions about his goals and accomplishments this semester.
What were your goals for the year as SGA president?
Definitely one of my original goals was to attempt to try things a little differently. A perfect example would be the holiday lights. That was something that was a completely different approach to the way SGA has been doing things. I think we’re at a good time right now to kind of test the waters to see what kind of direction we could be going in.
In terms of specific things that we want to do, there are two things we’ve been working on recently. The first is the unified constitution between the Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses. That definitely means a lot to us. It’s something that past SGAs have been trying to do, and we want to do it really badly. By doing this we’re creating an inter-campus organization, which is like a board where members from the Westminster executive board and members from the Lawrenceville executive board will meet to keep communication flowing and improve relations.
Another thing that we’ve been working on recently is upgrading the Pub. We feel that with all the new changes going on around campus — the turf field, the new academic building, the expansion of the theater — we figured we should keep trying to make ourselves look better. The Pub is a place we felt could definitely be looked at in terms of, “How can we upgrade it? How can we make it look a lot better? How can we make it look a lot newer?” It’s such a pivotal place on campus. One of the problems we’ve always seen is the need for space. We want to take the Pub in the direction of keeping it as a pub, but upgrading so that it is possible to hold an event.
What have you accomplished so far?
The first thing I’m proud of is how hard my Cabinet has been working. They all have been working so well together that we have been able to just go right through things quickly. One of the things I was really excited about was the freshman election because we were able to double the amount of voters that participated. Considering one of the main things I really want to do is have increased participation from the students, I think that gave us a good idea that we’re doing a good job.
What do you hope to accomplish next semester?
One of the things is cross-campus programming with Westminster. I think that’s something that’s going to happen. There’s already going to be one event where students from this campus will be working with students from the Westminster campus, and that will be in April for the Spring Fling that the Westminster campus holds.
Aside from that, I plan to have some sort of program that will occur, hopefully in the beginning of the next semester, where we will go over there and help them out and keep the relationships flowing.
Another project that SGA has been working on has been a ban on propane tanks, which has affected the Greeks because they use propane grills. Because they use the grills often, we felt that we should help them out in some way. Mike Zilly, our treasurer, is finding ways to get grills that have propane lines.
Why are you interested in pursuing the joint constitution with the Lawrenceville SGA and Westminster SGA?
I was able to work on it last year when I sat on the committee that was trying to get things rolling. For me, it really became a kind of “Why not?” thing. It seems so obvious to do it. We’re one university. Even though we’re two separate schools with two different goals and two different schedules and routines, both of our SGAs have the same mission, and that is to serve the students.
The reason I’m so eager to do this is because I want that inter-campus organization. I think to open up relations as much as possible is important, and by doing this constitution that committee will be formed. I think this is a good start to opening up and blossoming a relationship with them.
Do you have any advice for students who want to get involved with student government?
My advice is pretty simple, and that’s just to speak up. Just come up to someone who is involved and say, “I want to get involved.” It’s that easy. Besides the things we’re currently working on, I still have a few months left until elections in the spring, so there’s other stuff I’m in the process of developing. There are tons of opportunities, and one of the things I really try to do is get as many people as I can to get involved. So my advice to those students who want to get involved is to just say something because there’s so much work that could be done. We want to help younger students develop into leaders, and all it takes for them is to say, “I want to do it.”