Ryan Hicks appointed SGA President
Ryan Hicks, a junior physical therapy major from Dedham, Massachusetts will be the next to handle the gavel and serve as the SGA president.
A total of 2,255 students voted in this election, a sharp decline from the 3,119 that voted in the last election. Only about 32 percent of the student population voted in this year’s election.
Hicks also praised his opponent and friend Joe Iasso for the way he handled himself both on the campaign and during the appeal process.
“I am proud of what (Iasso) did,” Hicks said. “He is an incredible candidate and a great friend of mine and I look forward to working close with him in the future.”
The president-elect wants to focus on uniting SGA and having more clear agendas and initiatives. He decried “personal agendas” and called for uniting to help solve student concerns on campus. He wants to take a management approach to leadership and help transform SGA into a team that can serve the student body.
“I think it’s about recentering,” Hicks said. “Everyone ran with the same intentions: to benefit Quinnipiac, to benefit the student body, and to make the student body’s voices heard. For a brief period of time its thinking of why you ran and what you wanted to accomplish and then keeping those goals in mind no matter what position you hold. Once that grace period ends of thinking about why you ran we can start to come together as one team.”
One issue Hicks wants to tackle is the financing of student organizations. A cause he has long fought for as vice president (VP) for Finance.
The funding SGA gets for student organizations was sharply cut this year, going from $750,000 to $600,000. Many student organizations were unable to attend conferences or competitions and those that did get to attend had to go through a special appeal process. Hicks said that the huge cuts have stunted the student experience and stopped club growth at a time Quinnipiac is trying to tout its growth.
“I hope that we can show the administration that we need more money,” Hicks said. “By not giving us more money you’re restricting the student experience. You’re preventing our students from having learning outside the classroom which I think is incredibly important. I mean that’s why we get involved right? Without it there is no professional development, exchange of ideas, there’s none of that hands on learning. WIthout allowing our students to travel and without allowing our students to compete we’re restricting that learning from outside the classroom?”
Hicks has been a long time advocate of increasing student organization funding. During his campaign for VP for Finance, he stated his displeasure with budget cuts. Hicks said that the huge cuts left SGA with a shortage of nearly $75,000 when they drew up their budgets this year. While they are preparing for another tight year, Hicks hopes to pitch to administration the importance of funding SGA and said that his “ideal” budget would stand at around $725,000.
“SGA has to represent every single organization,” Hicks said during his 2017 campaign. “I’m ready to go to the administrators and rattle the cage.”
“I fell in love with it immediately,” Hicks said. “I fell in love with the ability to work with people and to communicate what they need to administration and to be able to be that liaison.”
During his four years at Quinnipiac, Hicks has served in SGA in various roles. He served as a class representative his freshman year, then the President of the Class of 2019 in his sophomore year and this year he served as the Vice President for Finance.
Hicks will close out his role as VP for Finance at this week’s budget meeting for SGA and voting to revamp SGA’s impeachment process.
Hicks stated his admiration for current SGA President Ryan Lynch. He stated that he hopes to run the government in the same way he saw Lynch run it. This includes forging personal relationships with all representatives, having an open-door policy with students and always being ready to address concerns and working together to make sure current initiatives do not get dropped during the transition in order to make sure student concerns are met.
In building off Lynch’s legacy, Hicks hopes to be able to have a lot of momentum when he gets the opportunity to meet with new University President Judy Olian. He feels a restart and change in direction would not only go against all the success SGA has had with initiatives this year, but would slow the process of making sure the new administration is meeting student priorities.
While Director of Campus Life for Student Center and Student Involvement, Erin Twomey has seen a number of presidents, executive boards and general board at this point, she has high hopes for Hicks.
“For him my hope is finding this place where the members of student government feel comfortable and confident to do the work they want to do, but also equipped to be the best representatives that they can for the student body,” Twomey said. “I believe (Hicks) wants that. To be honest (Iasso) would have wanted that too. They both kind of really spoke about that.”
Student government is in an interesting place where the model that was student government and the model of what student government is going to look like is changing, according to Twomey.
“I think it’s about carving what the future’s going to look like,” Twomey said. “Ryan Lynch and his group did some of the work this year and I think Ryan Hicks and his groups will continue that work and I think it’s going to be work that’s going to continue for the next couple of years.”
Hicks had some basic ideas of what he wanted to bring up to Olian. He hopes meet with her at either at a Board of Trustee Meeting over the summer or as soon as students return to campus. His main concerns he hopes to talk to her about include a focus on gender-inclusive housing, striving to make Quinnipiac more diverse and inclusive, and of course, budget concerns.
“This past student government did a lot of work,” Hicks said. “By continuing off of that there is no restart or stop but we’re building off that and going full steam ahead and by building off of what the past student government has done it allows us to get a lot of work done much faster.”