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Ricketts, Ruelas prepare for upcoming school year

| Friday, August 21, 2015

Student body president Bryan Ricketts and vice president Nidia Ruelas said Aug. 11 the student government team has been working on several events and initiatives that will affect the incoming freshmen class, from individual events to year-long programs.

Ricketts said one of the first events will be a Quad Market during Welcome Weekend, a program that began in the spring.

“We’re bringing in a ton of off-campus vendors, and all the parents will still be here, the students will be here,” he said. “It’ll be set up on North Quad, and it’ll be a great opportunity to introduce freshmen to the community, right off the bat, all the great resources we have to offer.”

He said a “Celebrity Scoop” event will introduce freshmen to campus celebrities, including faculty from athletics and campus ministry.

Ruelas said student government will also be sponsoring coffee hours for students to get to know faculty on a more personal level.

“We’ll give them a $10 gift card to go get coffee with professors,” she said. “It’s really great to get to know your professors and that’s something we want all students to do.”

Student government will also be sponsoring a dorm week, which will begin the week of Sept. 13, to encourage new students to make friends outside of their own residence halls, Ricketts said.

“Our team has been working really hard to make this happen,” Ruelas said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to get to know people in different dorms because in the first week you’re mostly in your dorm. … This will be a great way to get to know other people in other dorms and upperclassmen.”

Ruelas said a RecSports opening night is also in the works to introduce students to health and wellness resources on campus, and that student government will also host a reception with information about the First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL).

“This reception is specifically geared towards freshmen, it’s to make sure they know the different options there are for them to get involved,” Ruelas said. “It’s a little more focused than for example, activities, where you have lots of clubs and activities. This is specifically about getting involved in leadership on campus, like freshmen class council and the student union board. It’s geared toward guiding students to find out what their interests are and figure out what they want to do.”

Ricketts said FUEL, which will be led by student directors Madi Purrenhage and Michael Finan, can be a helpful way for freshmen to share their individual talents and interests; increasing awareness of students’ identities was one of the platforms in the Ricketts-Ruelas campaign.

“While FUEL isn’t explicitly about diversity or identity, when you really get down to it, the way Madi and Michael are approaching this is trying to take the strengths every student has and build upon them,” he said. “Whether that comes from your background or your interests or your involvement back in high school, it’s really about celebrating who you are now and where you’re going to go from here.”

Ricketts said he wants to make sure they feel welcome to be leaders on campus.

“When we’re here working on issues for Notre Dame, it’s not good if a quarter of students are not talking to us. Our door is always open up here in LaFun.”

Ruelas also encouraged students to bring questions and concerns to student government.

“We’ll have office hours that we’ll send out to the entire student body, so that they can come in and talk to us, once a week,” she said. “Even if a freshman just wants to get know us, that’s perfectly fine. We have a Keurig, and they can come get a cup of coffee with us and have a conversation with us — we’re always open to that.”

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About Catherine Owers

Senior News Writer Catherine Owers is a senior from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is studying English and Theology.

Contact Catherine