Senior political science major Alex Fries was appointed as student senate speaker last Sunday, Oct. 2. His appointment came after former Student Senate Speaker Doug Marino resigned from his post on Sept. 25 for personal reasons. Marino is still a member of the Senate and a “dear friend” of Fries’.
Fries also serves as the president of the UNH chapter of the Phi Mu Delta fraternity. His first foray into Student Senate occurred in his sophomore year. According to their website, the Student Senate “…strives to represent the opinion of the students to the University faculty, staff and administration, as well as the University community and State Legislature.”
Meetings are held every Sunday night in Paul College room 165 at 6 p.m. and are open to the public. Consistent attendees of these meetings include resident senate members, nonresident senate members, Student Body President Jonathan Dean, Student Body Vice President Carley Rotenberg, executive officers of the senate and Dean’s cabinet members. The organization has 67 seats with 34 currently filled.
Each residential hall on campus has at least one resident senate member that resides there. Depending on the number of residents in the hall, there may be multiple senate members. Students living off-campus can also apply to be nonresident senate members. Their goal is to communicate the needs and concerns of undergraduates to the Senate at weekly meetings.
As a sophomore, Fries was a resident senator for the Upper Quad. He took time off from Senate his junior year. “My schedule didn’t allow me to put in the time that it deserved,” Fries said. He rejoined Senate this year, not as a senator, but as a SAFC at Large member. He forfeited this seat once he was approved for the position of Speaker.
Fries’ new position gives him the responsibility of seeing to it that passed bills and resolutions are being promoted. “I make sure the trains run on time,” Fries said. Once the Senate passes a bill or resolution, Fries goes to the administration to make sure that it is implemented. He is required to keep his opinions on matters brought to the Senate to himself and to stay neutral in all aspects. Outside of Senate, he said that it has not been difficult to stay unbiased. He referenced a saying that he learned from his fraternity during freshman year that he tries to apply to all aspects of his academic and professional life: “You’re always wearing your letters.” In saying this, Fries means that he is constantly representing each and every organization he is a member of, meaning he always does his best to meet their expectations by presenting himself in a professional manner.
Fries entered UNH aiming for a degree in athletic training, hoping to eventually study pre-med. Certain classes, such as Introduction to Canadian Politics, and student-run organizations led to his decision to switch his major to political science.
Fries became the vice president of UNH College Republicans during the second semester of his freshman year. He then became president of College Republicans his sophomore year, and served as both president and state chairman during his junior year.
Fries also wrote multiple pieces for the opinion section of The New Hampshire as a contributing writer, with the column being titled “From the Right.” This past summer, he worked under the now-vice-president of NH1 News, doing everything from radio to sales and marketing.
Fries said he isn’t quite sure what he wants to do with his degree once he graduates, but between his extensive experience in both politics and news, his options seem open and his future looks bright.
For more information on Student Senate and how to get involved, visit unh.edu/student-senate or email Fries at firstname.lastname@example.org.