SGA multicultural and identity senators now two separate roles

Krystal Miller, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University’s Student Government Association made the decision for the 2022-23 academic year to make the multicultural and identity senator position into two respective roles.

Brooklyn Mastracchio (left) and Ari Hyman (right) will be stepping into the newly separated SGA roles as identity and multicultural senators, respectively. (Jack Muscatello)

Nick Ciampanelli, a senior economics and political science double major and SGA president for the 2021-22 academic year, said the roles were separated to increase representation of the student body. Ciampanelli said the idea had been discussed over the past year and was finalized with the adoption of SGA’s constitutional amendments on March 9. 

“Throughout the past three years, the cabinet has found that the multicultural and identity senator positions were pursued to represent and/or advocate for issues related to race and ethnicity,” Ciampanelli said in a written statement. “The creation of an Identity Senator now expands opportunities for students to represent additional intersectionalities as student leaders within the Bobcat community (i.e. gender, sexuality, and disability status).”

Ari Hyman, a junior political science major, was recently elected multicultural senator for the upcoming academic year. She said being of mixed race has helped her create a connection with multiple backgrounds. 

“I feel like I have a really good understanding of a lot of different cultures, even the ones that are not a part of our practice,” Hyman said. “So I thought it would be a really good fit.”

Hyman said she is working on getting multicultural flags in the student center to have a visual representation of the student body. She plans to send out a survey to the student body asking if there is a country flag that represents their culture. Hyman said the purpose of the initiative is to bring students closer to their culture. 

“I like to think of myself as a bridge between multicultural students and multicultural organizations on campus and SGA,” Hyman said. “So anything I can do to talk to them, communicate, make their experience at Quinnipiac better, I try to listen and make sure that I get that done for them.” 

Hyman was previously the multicultural and identity senator in the 2021 fall semester, and said her goals will still intersect with the ones for identity senator, but now her focus can shift more specifically to multicultural goals.  

 “I think with that being separated, it will specify the duties better so that I can really hone in more, but I don’t think it’s necessarily good or bad,” Hyman said. 

Hyman said representation in SGA is improving, but her main goal is to have more students join SGA. 

“I really want students of color to be encouraged to run for these positions, because that’s the best way to see a change in SGA,” Hyman said. 

Brooklyn Mastracchio, a first-year occupational therapy major, is the recently elected identity senator for the upcoming academic year. She said the purpose of her role is to represent all students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, religious groups, etc. 

“As someone who identifies as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and serves as secretary of the Genders and Sexualities Alliance on campus, I feel I will be able to increase outreach and support for students not only identifying as a part of this community but all communities,” Mastracchio said. 

Mastracchio said she is working towards several goals, such as creating an easier process for students to find on and off campus resources, collaborating with student life and SGA, and working alongside The Department of Cultural and Global Engagement. 

Ambar Pagan, a senior political science major, was the multicultural and identity senator for the 2020-21 academic year. Skills such as learning how to listen to the Quinnipiac community and how to represent diverse cultures and identities were among the strengths Pagan said she gained in the position. 

“It was a great moment to really form strong connections with different student leaders,” Pagan said. “And then also to really understand what are the difficulties and struggles that are happening at Quinnipiac when it comes to diversity, when it comes to representation, when it comes to inclusivity and what are the solutions that we can do to create change.” 

The challenging moments Pagan said she faced responsibility of having to represent so many different people, but it should be a collective effort of the Quinnipiac community. She said that in the position it is important to create sustainable initiatives and continue conversations that go beyond the senator term. 

Pagan suggested that in the future, SGA could have a team of people for multiculturalism and identity, because there will be more people having conversations about these topics. She said having two separate senators allows a greater balance of tasks and responsibilities. 

“I do think it’s a good idea to separate (the position), because multicultural and culture is something that’s completely different from the conversation of identity, Pagan said. “Although they both intersect it’s really important when you are talking about identity, when you’re talking about gender, you’re talking about so many different voices that many times are silenced, and so it’s really good to have somebody that they can go to.”