Newly elected Senate leadership discuss win, future plans

Ramez Rizk and Jonah Steinweh-Adler won the 2023 University of Rhode Island Student Senate presidential elections, becoming the president-elect and vice president-elect for the 2023-24 academic year. 

Winning the election against current Student Senate Vice President Emily Gamache and Director of Treasury Chris Hoover, Rizk and Steinweh-Adler hope to use their experience as community leaders outside of the Student Senate to implement common-sense solutions to unaddressed issues affecting students on campus. 

“Emily and Chris, as current senators, certainly had the advantage of knowing the nitty-gritty details of procedure and how the Student Senate works,” Rizk said. “However, the advantage that we have going into this job is that we had the time to be really involved in everything other than the Senate.”

Rizk, a second-year pharmacy student who served as a Senator At-Large during the 2021-22 academic year, currently serves his community as a resident assistant and teacher’s assistant. Growing up in Egypt, Rizk served on the senate bodies of both his school and his church.

Steinweh-Adler, a second-year journalism major, is a teacher’s assistant and a campus tour guide. Born and raised in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, Steinweh-Adler has deep connections to both the University and the state of Rhode Island, participating in the Middle Eastern Students’ Association on campus and giving sailing tours of Newport and the Narragansett Bay on Newport’s prolific classic 12-Meter sailing yacht “Nefertiti” during summers. 

Rizk believes that the combination of his international background and Steinweh-Adler’s local knowledge allows the pair to reach a diverse group of students on campus. 

“I chose Jonah to be my running mate because I feel like such a platform requires someone to not just be well known, but also really involved in a number of communities on campus,” Rizk said. “You could be a football player and be very well known, but still not be involved in a lot of things. Because Jonah is involved in a lot of things, he knows a very diverse group of people and is very passionate about what he wants to get done. I feel like one of the main things that got us elected was that the people who voted for us are not from a specific group of people, but a very diverse group.”

  Both being on-campus residents, the duo claim to have an ear to the ground about issues that affect student life. 

“Living on campus allows you to see many issues that off-campus students may not be exposed to,” Steinweh-Adler said. “Eating in the dining halls everyday forces you to see the crazy amount of food waste that the University has to throw away every day, so a big priority of our administration will be to work with Dining Services and the campus farm to create a compost system for a more sustainable dining experience.”

  The Ramez-Steinweh administration’s main policy proposal is the implementation of a ‘syllabus bank,’ a collection of syllabi from all offered classes that would be made publicly available so students can understand the requirements of a course before enrolling in it.

The Student Senate will announce the positions of other elected senators shortly.