Reuter and Chen Lay Out Goals for USG’s Next Term

Thomas+Reuter%2C+FCRH+%2722%2C+and+Arianna+Chen%2C+FCRH+%2722%2C+win+with+a+campaign+centered+on+diversity%2C+inclusion+and+equity.+%28Courtesy+of+Instagram%29

Thomas Reuter, FCRH ’22, and Arianna Chen, FCRH ’22, win with a campaign centered on diversity, inclusion and equity. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Patricia Whyte , Contributing Writer

Thomas Reuter, FCRH ’22, and Arianna Chen, FCRH ’22, were announced as the executive president and executive vice president of Fordham’s United Student Government for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

The candidates have served on USG for a combined five years and earned over 2,300 votes. The election results were announced on April 19. 

“We feel pretty strong. We’re really excited for this upcoming year,” Reuter said. “Arianna and I have led a pretty dedicated campaign, one that was focused around diversity and inclusivity and a thoughtful reintegration next year.” 

“I think we were very overwhelmed with the amount of support we received from the election,” Chen said. “We were super excited to see the community support for the initiatives that we were pushing.” 

Reuter currently serves as the executive vice president and Chen serves as vice president of diversity and inclusion. Additionally, Reuter currently sits as executive vice president of the communications & marketing and operations committees. Chen serves as a committee member of the diversity action coalition and operations, communications & marketing committees. Chen is also the first person to serve as chair of the diversity action coalition.  

Reuter and Chen have previously worked on a number of initiatives together for USG, including working closely with ASILI this summer on furthering the demands they set forth. 

“I think it’s really important, [to] adequately represent students through an equitable lense of where the most need is and what voices need to be uplifted and amplified the most,” Chen said.  “Which I also think is a lens that Thomas and I are committed to promoting in the next year.” 

The representatives’ campaign platform specified several goals the team hopes to accomplish in their term, including Bronx partnership and investment, streamlining club processes and resources and safe and equitable campus reintegration.

“Our central tenet of our platform is diversity and equity,” Reuter said. “This pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color, and so, how do we help those students that have been most impacted by the pandemic financially, emotionally, physically, to get back to campus? That’s my chief concern, at least for the start of the year.” 

Due to health and safety restraints, this year saw a decline in programming and event participation. Reuter and Chen see programming as an integral part of Fordham’s campus and want to help programming and clubs return to previous engagement. 

“I think oftentimes when you ask somebody from Fordham what their favorite part of this school is, they’ll say community, the students,” said Reuter. “Our focus, and this platform’s focus, is meant to enhance and expand that community.” 

The newly-elected executive ticket plans on providing clubs with more support by pursuing a $3 increase in the portion of tuition allocated as student activity fee and shortening the club approval process under USG’s Operations Committee. They also hope to designate a USG student advisor for new clubs in their first year and increase club promotion within USG’s communications committee. 

The team is also committed to university partnership within the Bronx community. 

“I also think that service is not really a standalone for integration,” explained Chen. “And for our interactions with the Bronx, I think that the way that we should be interacting with the Bronx is through a lense of partnership, and through a lense of kinship, which is a lot more than just service.”

Reuter and Chen plan to invest in the Bronx by prioritizing USG’s semesterly budget toward supporting local Bronx businesses and working with OSI on a “Bronx Vendor List” for student activity fee allocations to be prioritized for Bronx business. Additionally, they will push for professional integration with community partners and the university’s intentional investment in local foundations, projects and businesses. 

Reuter and Chen said they are confident in their ability to achieve their goals for the 2021-2022 academic year, as they have enjoyed a good relationship with administrators in their time on USG through their collaboration on a variety of initiatives. 

“Aside from [certain] programs, there’s little initiative implementation that takes place without the help of our university partners,” Reuter said. “We’ve enjoyed strong relationships with them for many years, relationships that are duly transparent.” 

Since their election win was announced, the team has received a warm response from students, USG alumni, professors and faculty, they told the Ram.  

“I think most of all, we’ve been excited about the amount of student support that we’ve received, just the overwhelming amount of student engagement with the election this year,” Chen said. “We hope that transcends into the next year, and that we can keep the momentum so we can push these initiatives forward.”