By Kavin Carter
“Empowerment to all students!” This is the message that the new student body president for the 2017-2018 year, Hope Rhodes, wants to convey. Among registering for class, deciding housing situations, capstones, finals, papers, and saying goodbye to those we love or have lost, it may seem that next year is far away. The reality, though, is that the next school year will start in just five months! The Blade sat down with Hope to see what her plans are for the future of Providence.
“I view the position of President as not a figure of authority but rather more of a position for someone to encourage and empower people,” said Hope. “The goal of the president isn’t to push their own agenda but instead try to do what is best for the community, to listen to every student and bring their concerns to the table.”
Many students have been interested in communication this year specifically communication between Administration and the student body but also communication with student leadership and the rest of the student body.
“Senate is working to make a more effective way for students to communicate within the student body and also with staff and faculty.” She continued “It’s a bit of a wiggly game because this is the first year that student senate has existed for the sole purpose of representation. We are laying the groundwork to be heard and to have a good process.”
Last year the decision was made to split Student Senate(SOCAL) into two groups so that senate could operate more effectively. One would focus on school events while the other would focus on student representation. The former group was given the name Campus Activities Board (CAB), leaving the senate to focus on representing students and be more effective on other issues.
“There’s a lot that senate does that doesn’t get a lot of notice.” said Hope, “I want the students to be in the loop more about what senate does. The inclusion of a representative from the student newspaper to attend our meetings and provide updates to students is a great idea.” She continued, “The whole school will work better if everyone is informed and involved.”
The position of President holds a considerable amount of responsibility and time. Because of this, some have questioned if Hope is the right choice for President. When asked what she thought about this, she said, “That’s a wonderful question. Every president brings their strengths and weaknesses.” She continued, “Part of why I’m late to things is because I hold certain things in higher priority than others. Senate is a high priority for me so I plan to focus on it. My strength is that I talk to people and that I really care. Especially with all the events that have taken place over the past few months at providence, I’ve had to really question whether I want to care. I wrestled with that idea for a while and came to the conclusion that I’m committed to this place. I chose to come here for a reason and that is why I’m here.” She went on to say, “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to become president; I want to empower everyone to be involved and have a voice.”
Hope supports the possibility of the establishment of civil rights groups next year if students choose to bring them on campus. Groups such as a Latino student union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are included. Groups like the NAACP aren’t race exclusive to only African Americans; anyone can join. The main purpose of these groups is to advocate for the rights of minorities and all students across the board. “I am one hundred percent behind that idea. I think it’s great and should definitely try to have those groups on campus,” said Hope.
Counseling is a personal passion of Hope’s. Currently, students have the option of receiving three free sessions of counseling paid by the college at Fuller Psychological and Family Services. After those three sessions, however, the student must pay out of pocket for further sessions. “I’ve joked with my friends that when I graduate I’m going to set up a fund specifically for helping students get therapy,” she said, “Students need an avenue where they don’t feel afraid to talk about real issues in their lives.”
President Hope will officially take office on the first day of the upcoming school year. In the meantime, she encourages all students to email or talk to her in person, if they have any questions or comments.