by Monique Guz
Equally persistent in a competitive skirmish for the votes of their peers, Thomas Vendetta and Wendy Orleans have been diligently campaigning for the Oct. 14 freshman elections since the early weeks of September.
Vendetta, a computer information systems major, is also an active member in Rider SERVES, Rooters (weekend networking), Emerging Leaders, Photography Club and Technology Club. Orleans, a psychology major with a potential minor in criminal justice, is involved in International Club, Educational Opportunity Program, Multicultural Leadership Institute, Emerging Leaders and the Rider Tennis Team. But why have both candidates decided to run ahead — way ahead — of the game?
“I began campaigning so early because I knew it was something I wanted to do right from the start,” said Vendetta. “I had an amazing experience with Rider SERVES and I wanted to make an effort to get more involved in the Rider community as soon as possible.”
Vendetta, the younger brother of former SGA President Laura Vendetta, said that although he had been influenced to run after hearing the “fascinating stories” of his sister’s leadership roles and extensive involvement at Rider, the decision to run for class president was ultimately his own.
Orleans, on the other hand, decided to run after being selected for the Multicultural Leadership Institute, through which he sharpened leadership skills under the wings of established campus figures. Striving to cultivate himself into a scholar instead of an average student, Orleans felt that he was more than qualified for the job.
“My aim for the student body is to make sure every voice is heard and that students get the most that they possibly can from this campus,” Orleans said. “One of the main things I would like to change about Rider is its suitcase reputation. There is something clearly wrong with the amount of students that go home for the weekend.”
Orleans plans to organize diversified events and activities on campus, such as paintball, to keep students from leaving.
Like Orleans, Vendetta aspires to represent the needs, issues and concerns of the freshman class to the SGA and administration. In addition, he would like to “establish a strong financial foundation” to build upon for future needs pertaining to the class of 2012.
“Through fundraisers and service opportunities, we can establish ourselves as a class and as a part of the university,” Vendetta said. “It is essential to have an individual who will serve as the voice of the students and actively respond to their needs.”
Vendetta said he would like to survey the freshman class to gather feedback and information about what changes they would like to see. From there, he intends to structure a plan to ensure that the problems are properly addressed and present it to campus officials until a solution or mutual understanding surfaces.