Photo courtesy of Adriana Wilding and Abdulwhab Alquirtas.
By Oluwatona Campbell and Juliana Cuomo
On March 7 and March 8 students at the University of Rhode Island elected Adriana Wilding Abdulwhab “Wahab” Alquirtas as president and vice president of Student Senate.
According to Wilding and Alquirtas, they were elected because of their platform and campaign of diversity and experience.
Wilding gained her leadership experience while serving on the Student Entertainment Committee and as the Senate communications director. Alquirtas has served on on the Senate Student Organization Advisory Review Committee and the Rules and Ethics Committee. The two were able to persuade voters with their shared experience and leadership, as well as their plans to address student issues.
Wilding highlighted the need to improve Senate’s external communication with other student organizations, while both hope to encourage Senate to also improve communication with the student body and its organizations.
“We are thinking of sitting through meetings of other organizations on campus,” Alquirtas said. Wilding and Alquirtas are optimistic that working to co-sponsor more University events with other student organizations will help to create a better working relationship.
Wilding sees an opportunity to also work with the Department of Housing and Residential Life to improve its communication with students on maintenance and facility updates as well as department policy changes.
Wilding and Alquirtas addressed the need to help decrease the prevalence of sexual assault and misconduct among the student population.
“The President [of Senate] is appointed to the University’s Sexual Assault Prevention Committee” said Wilding.
Wilding hopes to use her position on the committee and role as president to press for more progress on sexual assault prevention and enforcement to improve student safety.
Along with improving campus safety and communication, Wilding pledged to hold the University accountable for its handling of the current parking issues. Many residential and commuter students criticize the limited parking spaces and University’s ineffective parking solutions. As president, Wilding is given the opportunity to appoint a Senate liaison to participate in the University’s Parking and Transportation Committee meetings and activities. She hopes to appoint a liaison to push for improved parking solutions and to discuss the University’s future transportation policies.
Both Wilding and Alquirtas agree that their ultimate responsibility is to represent and advocate on behalf of the student body. “I think the biggest responsibility in my position is to let the students know that they are being represented,” said Wilding.
Alquirtas explained that as vice president he plans to help improve the internal relations within Senate by helping senators fulfil their responsibilities and improve the Senate’s culture. Wilding and Alquirtas will have next academic year to accomplish their goals and deliver on their campaign promises.
Per Senate’s Bylaws, Wilding and Alquirtas, along with other elected senators, will be sworn in on March 8, during the Senate meeting. The new representatives will serve from the end of March through the rest of the academic year until next year’s elections in March.