By Kaitlyn McCormick
Following a year of continued impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, administrative tensions within the university and overwhelming rhetoric surrounding changes being made to Rider, it is only fitting that the next Student Government Association (SGA)’s student body president should be someone with the experience, tact and dedication to guide Rider students through their latest transitionary period. For this reason, The Rider News’s editorial board has chosen to endorse junior political science major Andrew Bernstein for SGA president.
SGA experience and impact
Bernstein has a strong leadership background within the SGA as a senator, past chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and most recently the vice president for University Affairs. This extensive experience puts him in the unique position to build upon the work that the SGA is already doing and that he has helped influence, while also bringing ambitions for more opportunities to expand his initiatives as president.
Senior journalism major and The Rider News Executive Editor Sarah Siock said, “This is … a pivotal point at the university. There’s probably a lot of change coming, and I think that [Bernstein] would be the right person to lead that change and advocate for students along the way. And I think he also understands the responsibility that would be put on him and the role that he’s supposed to have.”
Just this year, Bernstein helped to oversee initiatives that brought lockers to the commuter lounge and free feminine hygiene products to bathrooms across campus.
Junior sports media major and The Rider News Managing Editor Shaun Chornobroff said, “I think Andrew’s vision to actually have a visible impact [on the university] is something that this community needs right now. To not only make an impact now, but to set a precedent for the future that is desperately needed as we’re in a tough time.”
A commitment to diversity
Expanding the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campus is a goal that Bernstein has been working toward within the current SGA administration and intends to bring forward into his potential term as president. In an interview with The Rider News editorial board on April 4, he also stressed the importance of including accessibility on campus for all students as a facet of this inclusion.
Sophomore journalism major and The Rider News Features and Entertainment Editor Tristan Leach said, “I think Andrew’s movement on more inclusion and accessibility for our disabled persons on campus is really promising … For us to hear that there is someone who wants to jump on that as soon as possible is … really great.”
Bernstein has been working on an intercultural competency project that would make diversity awareness a part of the gen-ed curriculum, and he plans to bring this initiative to his presidency, remaining hopeful in light of the recent merging of the Westminster College of the Arts and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences into the new College of Arts and Sciences.
Handling university tension
Through his experience in SGA as well as his campaign initiatives for this 2022 election, Bernstein has shown a commitment to helping students better understand the larger changes happening at an administrative level, like Rider’s CREDO partnership, prioritization and university debt. Bernstein plans to build upon the SGA’s “Your Questions Answered” series on social media that outlines these complex ideas for students, and also stressed the importance of person-to-person interaction and education.
Bernstein has also expressed his dedication to better understand and shed light on the experiences of Westminster Choir College students throughout their shift onto the Lawrenceville campus.
At a time when the university is facing many challenges, the presence of SGA leadership must not only advocate for students but continue to make meaningful and impactful strides in bettering the student experience. The Rider News remains hopeful that Bernstein will be a guiding voice for students during these transitionary and difficult periods.
This editorial expresses the unanimous opinion of The Rider News Editorial Board. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Kaitlyn McCormick
Originally printed in the 4/6/22 issue.