Student Association May meeting passes the baton to new reps

Collage of student association members
CUNY SPS student association

The last CUNY SPS Student Association meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year saw a mix of incoming and outgoing student representatives in attendance. The outgoing representatives, some of whom are soon to be CUNY SPS graduates, said goodbye and welcomed the newly elected students.

The new undergraduate representatives beginning their terms in the Fall 2023 semester are Shanice Drakes, Lennyn Jacob, and Sojung Park. The new graduate representatives include Goseema Persaud, Luis Gutierrez, Krutika Patel, and Leonard Blades. Undergraduate representatives Daniel Sayani and Amber Horton were both re-elected, and will return this coming year.

The outgoing representatives had advice for the incoming ones on how best to serve the CUNY SPS student body. 

Co-chair Asantee Mitchell, whose term ends this year, said that one of the best ways to connect with students is to attend club meetings. “Let the students know that we are here for them,” she said during the meeting. “There’s going to be a lot more groups, and they need to know they have support. As a leader on executive boards of many other groups, I want to make sure that Student Association is there.”

Public Editor and fellow outgoing representative Janelle Ambrose agreed, and added that being proactive, not just in club events, but in Student Association events, is crucial.

“Don’t wait for every month when we have scheduled meetings to meet and talk about stuff,” Ambrose said. “You guys can meet within those months, throughout the month before the next meeting and discuss certain things that you don’t have to wait till the next meeting to do.”

Anthony Sweeney, associate director of student life at SPS, had nothing but words of praise for the outgoing representatives.

“It’s been a great year,” Sweeney said. “I know there’s been a lot of challenges. And I know that a lot of the stuff that you wanted to do didn’t happen because of bureaucratic little issues that come up. But I think you all faced them with grace.”

He added that there are over 500 students that went through clubs and activities this year at CUNY SPS. “That’s because Student Association builds and maintains the structure for student activities on campus,” he said. “Without you all, we wouldn’t be able to do that. So we have things like the Parent Club now. And Cooking Club and Painting Club. And DAC [Disability and Access Coalition] is thriving. And none of that could be possible without Student Association.”

The representatives also discussed some of the highlights of the year and the Student Association’s biggest accomplishments. Mitchell, who also serves as a University Student Senate undergraduate delegate, described the importance of the USS as a way to advocate for CUNY SPS students within the wider CUNY network. Altogether, USS delegates represent the 500,000 CUNY students across all 25 campuses.

“We make sure that we’re fighting for our students, and make sure our voices are heard towards the Board of Trustees,” she said.

Although the new representatives are already planning the association’s next academic year, there is not yet a full slate of representatives at Student Association. CUNY SPS will hold runoff elections in the Fall semester to determine who will fill out the final six seats aside from the nine already filled, Sweeney said.

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