Your New Student Reps: Will They Make Change?

Student Leadership Council, who calls itself the “voice of the students,” elected three new representatives to help further the success of the student body at COD. Here’s their thoughts on what they’d like to implement.

Nick Karmia, Staff Writer

Out of eight candidates, Zohaib Syed Quadri, Ty Giordano and Juliana Wozniak were selected by the Student Leadership Council to serve as the next student representatives charged with managing the well-being of the student body at COD. Officers of SLC discussed the candidate pool and found these three to be the most suitable for pursuing various priorities, plans and dreams to benefit the college. 

Among several other responsibilities, student representatives are tasked with serving on a minimum of one college-wide committee and reporting on student input and perspectives. None of the new student representatives have been placed on a college-wide committee thus far. 

For newly-elected student representative Zohaib Syed Quadri, he wants to support an initiative to help the student body take better control of their college journeys. 

“What matters to me is student success, and I feel that should be the main focus,” Quadri said. “I think that a lot of students when they’re here, they’re focused on just getting college started and then over with. What they don’t realize is that they want to be more than just successful. They want to be satisfied with it.” 

Quadri believes that many different kinds of resources available at COD go unnoticed. He recalls falling victim to this in his first semester, only learning about the opportunities late into his time spent at COD. 

“I just think students need to be informed well on what is already present. We could just have fliers that show these opportunities exist for you, and that you should come and take advantage of them,” Quadri said. “We host a lot of events, such as the student life fair, maybe that’s a way for people to get to know about opportunities that are available.” 

He connects to his own experience as a student when talking about the idea of utilizing faculty members for help. Quadri found himself talking to one of his professors during their office hours and was told about the various opportunities COD offers for engineering students. This passing of information is an important function in the advertisement of opportunities according to Quadri, but the responsibility of finding these resources falls primarily on the student. 

“To be completely fair, I feel like the student does have to be interested in having to seek those opportunities,” Quadri said.  

Another improvement Quadri is willing to advocate for is an upgrade in COD’s transportation services, but he’s not talking about the shuttles offered to students on campus. 

“I noticed that the students that go to COD, at least people that I know, always come here from really far away areas. Like they live around more than 30-40 minutes away,” Quadri said. 

Implementing a shuttle bus that runs specifically for students who require transport from somewhere off campus is a solution that Quadri has in mind. 

“Maybe a way to see what we can do about that is to understand what other campuses and what other institutions are doing to solve it,” Quadri said.  

Quadri thought about what he could get accomplished this year as a student representative, but couldn’t make any promises.  

“I mostly like to do things as they present themselves in front of me, so I don’t have much of a clue on what I can get done now and what will be done by the end of the term,” Quadri said.  

For another newly elected student representative, Ty Giodarno, he wants his term in office to be all about making sure SLC lives up to its mission. 

“Making sure the student voice is heard,” Giodarno said. “Whatever that may be, whether its dining services, the library, budgeting. [For SLC] trying to get more students coming in, because it’s sad to see that a 20,000-student campus only has eight people showing up to a student rep event.” 

Beyond a student focusing on their academics at COD, Giodarno wants students to see the other areas they can become successful in. One core initiative he’s looking to help support is awareness for everything COD has to offer. 

“I’m sure there’s a million services that I don’t even know about, and I think a lot of that has to do with passive advertisements,” Giordano said. “I think one of the things we could do to really get the word out is, honestly, fliers. Personally I find those very important for COD.” 

Giordano proposes fliers, but also implementing new ways in which events like the student life fair could be run at COD. 

“I’m trying to focus on the everyday student. The majority of students go into the building and out of the building. We need something that students can, at a glance, look at and kind of figure out what’s going on, so obviously, like I said, fliers,” Giodarno said. “My first semester, the issue was that I had classes. I’m assuming there’s a lot more other students who are just like that few hour window just isn’t enough. Increasing the hours. Adding an extra day. Maybe adding an online component.” 

Giordano wants students to see that COD isn’t just a place where you’re going in and out of your classes, and updates to COD’s student organizations site could help offset that stigma. 

“As is, a lot of the clubs don’t have a ton of information,” Giordano said. “Spreading what meetings are like, what we do, what are some of the issues we’re attacking right now. A lot of people don’t know about SLC, but they also don’t know what SLC does.” 

Putting these initiatives aside, Giordano still considers himself a student who hasn’t quite learned the ropes yet. 

“As of yet, it is just my second semester here, so I’m still trying to get a feel of COD. I’m still very new, so I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, what I can do,” Giodarno said. 

Giordano detailed a meet and greet day last semester where students were able to come in and talk to those who are officers and representatives of SLC. 

“Listening to those who ran for student rep [in the most recent election], the majority of students were there because someone on SLC told them to run and see what happens,” Giodarno said. “Creating that connection between those who are a part of the club, and those who aren’t, it’s an important point of view.” 

Giordano’s family has always had ties to COD, and this has served as one of his primary motivations to serve as a student representative. 

“My younger brothers, hopefully they’ll benefit from whatever changes I make, and the 10’s of 1,000’s of students that will take classes at COD over the years to come. I think it’s important for students to take part in their colleges, and try to make them better, not just for themselves, but for those who come after them.” 

Juliana Wozniak was another candidate that made it into the position of student representative for SLC. She’s a student worker in the athletics department at COD, and from the people she talks to throughout the day, she’s always willing to describe the different clubs and organizations one could get involved with at COD. 

“I think this is also the issue. People don’t know,” Wozniak said. “I got this position just because Ayesha (Shafiuddin) told me about it. Where, if she did not tell me about it, I would not even know [the position of student representative] exists. [In] our first sentence she told me ‘I’m student trustee.’ I was like, ‘what is a student trustee?’ I think this is the fundamental issue why people don’t actually want to engage. They don’t know that it’s possible.” 

Spreading information to students about ways to get involved by word of mouth is a strategy Wozniak thinks is crucial, but she also recognizes that it isn’t the most effective doing it alone. 

“Of course me by myself, I cannot do much,” Wozniak said. “Let’s just hope that [the other two student representatives] who were chosen by the committee also have an idea, they also want to be open and reach out to people. Right now I cannot tell you [the] exact thing I will do, because it’s hard. Let’s just hope that we will somehow work together really hard this semester, and increase our popularity.” 

One solution proposed by Wozniak is forging a collaboration between SLC and the Honors Student Advisory Committee (HSAC), where she holds the officer position of social media manager. 

Wozniak, who’s originally from Poland, is also keen on providing a healthy environment for international students. From her perspective, the environment for international students right now is of concern. 

“A lot of international students at the beginning, we focus on how to survive,” Wozniak said. “I feel like at least I would like to reach to this group, because I know how hard it is.”  

Serving the needs of international students was one of her biggest motivations behind trying to become a student representative. Wozniak is currently in the process of building up an international students club, and it’s a group she’d like to help support inside of SLC. 

“[International students] are very limited in every single aspect,” Wozniak said. “We are not allowed to get scholarships. If you don’t pass your class, you put in jeopardy your visa. We constantly stress over our immigration status. You focus so much on school to do well, to be successful, that you forget about these other things. For those people, I want to make their lives easier.” 

SLC meets every Tuesday in-person and on Zoom from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in SSC 2214. Meetings are open to the public, and you can find more information about the council on their ChapLife page.