By Stephen DiFiore
At the Student Senate meeting on Oct. 10, the Senate appointed students to fill two very important positions: Chair of the Diversity Committee and Student Activities Coordinator. Senators Julia Tortorello (Comm.) and Soulangie Leeper (LAS) were appointed as co-Chairs to the Diversity Committee, while Evan Liu was appointed Student Activities Coordinator.
Leeper and Tortorello both cited their personal experiences with diversity in their lives as qualifications for the position. Both of them are mixed women of color and were teenage mothers.
Leeper said that being mixed made it difficult for her to fit in with different groups growing up in the Bronx.
“Culturally, I didn’t fit,” Leeper said.
Tortorello, whose mother is white and whose father is black, said that there was always someone in her family who did not consider her either white enough or black enough.
“My entire life I have been not allowed into a very specific group,” she said.
Additionally, both have the shared experience of being a teenage mother at one point. Leeper is the mother of two boys, and Tortorello is the mother of “a beautiful, very interracial little girl.”
As for the issues that are most important to them, Leeper is interested in raising awareness about women of color in the field of STEM, creating a minority student union, pushing for more minority faculty, and improving accessibility on campus.
“Also I want to ban water bottles,” she added to the applause of attending senators.
Tortorello, similarly interested in those issues, also said that she is “very passionate about sexual violence awareness,” and wants the PSGA to push for more awareness on campus.
While the PSGA Bylaws state that Diversity typically would have one chair, the Senate can change the composition of a committee by a two-thirds vote, which they did at the request of both candidates.
The Senate also approved the appointment of Evan Liu, a Stood worker who was one among a packed field of candidates, to the position of Student Activities Coordinator.
Liu supports having more clubs and services use the Stood to collaborate on events and projects and wants to strengthen the safe space policy of the Stood.
Several people in the room supported Evan’s nomination.
“He shadowed Bobby [Woody, previous Student Activities Coordinator] in every way possible,” said Senator Jessica Gambino (Neu), who frequents the Stood.
“I vouch for Evan,” said General Programming Coordinator Leo Frampton. “Evan really knows the job.”
Evan Liu was approved unanimously by the senators.