If you walk past the Student Government offices today, you might spot Louis Venturelli during one of his final moments as Student Body President.
Venturelli’s warm smile and friendly hellos have been a comforting source of stability for students on campus. But now, it’s time for him to say goodbye. The familiar face whom Quinnipiac has come to know well is graduating in three and a half weeks.
Venturelli is about to embark in a new phase of his life pursuing a master’s in Higher and Post-Secondary Education at Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
But before leaving Quinnipiac for good, Venturelli walked down memory lane with the Chronicle to take a look back at his time on Student Government.
As a freshman at Quinnipiac, Venturelli first got involved on campus as President of the Irma/Dana Residence Hall Council. This eventually led to a position on the executive board during his sophomore year as the National Communications Coordinator.
In RHC, Venturelli met several student leaders and administrators and familiarized himself with the community.
“I absolutely love that organization and think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students to get involved at the beginning of their college experience,” Venturelli said. “I established connections with people not just at Quinnipiac, but in the region, and nationally.”
During his sophomore year, Venturelli served as a representative for the class of 2011 in Student Government. He cites his program “10 Ways to Fight Hate on Campus” as one of his proudest contributions to the organization prior to becoming Student Body President.
“It was the second year that a racial incident happened during my experience at Quinnipiac, and so I wanted to create a program and to tell the community we shouldn’t be accepting this in our community and our home,” he said.
Venturelli reached out to student organizations and different schools on campus to get involved. The program saw 200 people in attendance the Thursday before spring break in 2009 to speak out against hate on campus.
That spring, Venturelli ran his first campaign for Student Body President. Venturelli and outgoing Vice President of Finance Betsy Clark famously went door to door together with signs that said “Vote Lou,” “Vote Betsy.” They took pictures with students holding the signs and then uploaded them to Facebook.
“We were everywhere. And that’s how you get elected,” Venturelli said. “Looking back on them two years later, it’s pretty special seeing how far we’ve come. Betsy and I had so many campaign tactics that really started heightening the sense of competitiveness for these positions.”
During the SGA debates in 2009 Venturelli said, “I’m not looking to reform, I’m looking to advance.” Two years later, he believes advancement has occurred on campus, especially with programs such as Relay for Life and the Big Event.
“I would say that I was looking to make everyone’s experience better. In turn, as we all continue to grow, as the institution continues to grow, so does the culture,” he said. “And the culture furthers itself to be one, that’s more of an intellectual community, that’s more of a caring community; a community that gives back and takes pride in tradition. And I think we’ve done that.”
Developing a strong community has always been important to Venturelli.
In the April 1, 2009 edition of the Chronicle, Venturelli wrote that he had “a plan to bring the community closer together.”
“I really did have a plan, it was systematic,” Venturelli said.
The Connect Four plan was created to connect the Student Government to the student body; the Student Goverment to the administration, faculty and staff; the Student Government to the greater Hamden community, and the Student Government to the Student Government.
Venturelli mentions students have more of an opportunity to make a difference on campus now. According to Venturelli, students are now included on searches for university administrators and faculty hiring.
As he is about to pass over SGA responsibilities today, Venturelli is optimistic about the new leadership for next year.
“I am confident they are going to do a wonderful job,” he said. “And I just want them to know I’m going to be there for them whenever they need me.”
Now, Venturelli looks toward the future when he can work for human rights and hopefully advance the quality of life for everyone.
“I’m interested in human development and in particular student development,” Venturelli said. “It’s my hope to inspire people to pursue their passions and to inspire people to live out their dreams and to do their best.”
Photo courtesy of Louis Venturelli