To a number of University of Rhode Island students, the Student Senate might be a total mystery. However, three-year Student Senate member Amanda Rode has the enigma figured out.

“Student Senate isn’t scary,” Rode said. “I think a lot of groups are intimidated by the sound of what Student Senate is, but in reality we’re a bunch of college students here and we want to help everybody out, so we’re fun people too.”

In fact, Rode is evidence that the lawmaking body’s members are not a group of unapproachable political science students. Rode herself is a cell and molecular biology major and she loves how much her job entails interacting with students from various backgrounds. Having been a member of student government in high school, Rode said it just felt natural continuing her service at URI.

Now a junior, Rode has been elected at-large to the Senate for all three years. She currently chairs the Student Organization Advisory and Review Committee (SOARC). This committee is responsible for formally recognizing all student organizations, as well as aiding them with recruitment, advertising, fundraising and other events.

Having previously held the position of Campus Affairs chair, Rode is thankful for the constant support she gets to give URI’s student leaders this year.

“I didn’t get to work directly with students as much [last year],” she said. “But Student Senate currently recognizes 110 student organizations, so I love being able to work with all of them.”

The large variety of student groups is Rode’s favorite aspect of URI. “I don’t think people realize how many different clubs there are,” she said. “There are so many different organizations that there literally is something for everyone at URI. I’m just not sure that they know about it.”

Of these 110 organizations, Rode is currently a member of three. In addition to the Senate, she is a member of the Student Alumni Association. She’s also an executive member of Alpha Phi Omega, a new national leadership and service fraternity. “Even though Student Senate is like my first love of organizations, because it’s what I’ve delved myself into the deepest,” Rode said, “there are a ton of other fantastic organizations on campus.”

Although she’s from Warwick, Rode’s busy class and club schedule have kept her living on-campus for the last three years and she’s been enjoying the school’s amenities as a result. While she prefers most of the food served at Mainfaire Dining Hall in Hope, she has to say that, “Butt has the better soup.” Her favorite place to eat is Simply Thai in the emporium, where she suggests trying the Pad Thai and the drunken noodles.

Another of Rode’s favorite pastimes is baking, especially as a treat for her friends on campus. This past weekend, she baked 50 cookies. “I have a lot of guy friends and they’re all like ‘Yeah, warm cookies! This is delicious!’” she said.

As for the future, Rode said she hopes to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one day. This past summer, she worked as a Coastal Fellow at the Center for Biotechnology & Life Sciences (CBLS) and has been doing laboratory research since February.

While she is not yet sure if she wants to pursue her PhD., Rode intends to get her Master’s degree and continue to do lab work. “I really like people, so I need to find a balance between lab research and working with people,” she said. “So hopefully I establish that eventually.”

Intending to continue on Student Senate during her senior year, Rode encourages students who are unsure to give the organization a chance as well. “If there’s anyone out there interested in joining, I encourage them to run even though the election process might seem a little bit scary,” she said. “Student Senate is a great way to make a difference even if the student body doesn’t always know it.”