UC’s Historic Inauguration: A Student’s Perspective

My name is Ann Ciancia, and I’m the president of the UC Student Senate. On Friday, September 23, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the procession at the inauguration of Dr. Laura Casamento, Utica College’s new president. The entire executive board of Student Senate was asked to participate.

img_8428
Members of UC’s Student Senate prior to Inauguration

Inspiration filled me as the inauguration started on the cloudy (but not rainy) day! At the beginning of the year, during my convocation speech to incoming first year students, I emphasized how President Casamento was breaking the glass ceiling amongst the high leadership positions within college institutions, including our very own. As a female student leader on this campus, this event in our college history speaks to me. It means a lot to me knowing that a woman, like President Casamento, can make such a huge impact. I know she will transform and guide this college into a trailblazing institution as the ninth president.

The words of Professor Gary Leising and Gianna Boone were extraordinary and uplifting. Their poems were both filled with such incredible emotion, creating a distinct atmosphere for this event.

As President Casamento delivered her speech, she focused on the success of this college. During her presidency, she wants to reach out to faculty, staff, and students to make sure their voices are heard. It is important that she cares about the opinions of others. The change in store for Utica College during her presidency will exemplify the future success of this community.

A touching moment during the ceremony was when President Casamento pointed to the students in the crowd. She said her goal was to shake the hands of each student as they walk across the stage during graduation. As students, I know that we can help her reach the institution’s goal.

My final words go out to President Casamento herself: Remember to “Never Stand Still” as you embark on this unforgettable journey! Thank you for instilling the values of being a Proud Pioneer.

img_8445
President Casamento took a moment to pose with me 
Share

Be The Change!

Student Senate applications have been emailed out to the entire campus…so fill it out! Being a part of Student Senate is such a rewarding experience, and I strongly recommend everyone get involved. (Student Senate meets every other Wednesday at 3:00p in Bell Conference room.)

(After senate is a great time to take pictures, because everyone is dressed to impress!)
(After senate is a great time to take pictures, because everyone is dressed to impress!)

If filling out an application and being elected seems daunting, never fear! It’s not! The elections committee has streamlined the process and the only large piece to the application is 250 words on why you want the position you’re applying for. That’s relatively simple when compared to other application processes…

(Just some members of senate at a full body meeting. Shout out to Dean Varga!)
(Just some members of senate at a full body meeting. Shout out to Dean Varga!)

Honestly, being a part of Student Senate makes you feel a bit like you’re working “behind the scenes.” Whenever faculty or staff need student opinion, they head to student senate. All orgs have to be recognized by the full senate before they can be considered an actual organization on the Utica College campus. Any time an organization requests funding they first meet before the finance committee (which is an extension of senate) and then the full body senate! Student Senate helps to make things happen, and you can be a part of that!

I’ve been involved with senate since I was a sophomore. Now I am currently the Junior Class Treasurer. I love getting dressed up every other week and attending meetings. It feels I am actually helping Utica College to function as a collegiate institution, and hopefully making it just a little bit of a better place.

There are several different positions you can run for, go and check the application out!

(The full-body senate supporting one of our international senators last semester.)
(The full-body senate supporting one of our international senators last semester.)
Share

Leadership Weekend 2014

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to attend Student Senate’s annual Leadership Weekend. The purpose of the event was for student leaders to develop leadership skills within themselves and when working with other people. The weekend was held up on Raquette Lake at Camp Huntington, which is a secluded property owned by SUNY Cortland. We left from Strebel at 2 p.m. on Friday and returned at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

    (Camp Huntington is so secluded that you have to take a pontoon boat to get there!)
(Camp Huntington is so secluded that you have to take a pontoon to get there!)

The biggest attraction of the weekend were the high and low ropes courses, which were done Saturday afternoon. Individuals were split into two groups, and then went through a series of obstacles designed to test a multitude of skills associated with leadership ability. On the low course, the main take back was that of teamwork; people had to help out their team, and had to be encouraging if someone was having difficulties. The high ropes course was more about challenging yourself, and overcoming any personal hesitations you might have had.

(One of the low ropes course obstacles was being led around while wearing a blindfold...while your teammates also had on blindfolds.)
(One of the low ropes course obstacles was being led around while wearing a blindfold…while your teammates also had on blindfolds.)

 

(I was terrified of going up on the ropes, but I was proud of myself that I did it.)
(I was terrified of going up on the ropes, but I was proud of myself that I did it.)

Throughout the weekend there was also free time to kayak, canoe, swim, and even paddle board. The weather was beautiful (not a rain cloud in sight!!), so everyone took full advantage.

(My friend, Elaine, and I loved kayaking with everyone else.)
(My friend, Elaine, and I loved kayaking with everyone else.)

The other main focus of leadership weekend is for the students to think of ideas which may better the school, prepare presentations on them, and then present their proposals to various Utica College dignitaries who were invited up to the camp on Sunday afternoon. Several ideas were thrown around, but eventually three ideas became the prevalent ones, and were presented by the groups on Sunday afternoon. The proposals were:

1.) Better Handicap accessibility on campus. (Including shoveling snow more thoroughly in the winter, fixing the elevators in the academic and residential buildings so they break down less often, and allowing for better handicap seating in classrooms.)

2.) Updating IITS issues. (Printers placed in every residential hall, schedules put up outside of computer labs when they are in use, and the Strebel computer lab getting a bit of a “face-lift.”)

3.) Helping to integrate commuter students more easily. (More programming for commuters, and a lounge which contains lockers, a refrigerator, seating areas, etc. so they have somewhere to go on campus.)

(A group presenting their proposal on how to improve Utica College.)
(A group presenting their proposal on how to improve Utica College.)

The ideas were all good ideas, and presented very thoroughly. The various Utica College officials took notes, and will try to implement some of the students’ suggestions.

 

(I love love love loved Leadership Weekend 2014.)
(I love love love loved Leadership Weekend 2014.)

Leadership weekend was probably one of my favorite things to have done on campus, and to quote my friend Elaine, “I’ve done a lot.” It is a beautiful place to go and spend a weekend, and I highly encourage it. Even if the ropes course freaks you out (like it did me!) think to yourself, “When am I ever going to get this opportunity again?” A completely free weekend spent in the Adriondacks challenging yourself, and thinking of ways to make your school better – I can’t think of anything better.

Share