Carley Rotenberg won the student body president election this past weekend. After a year serving as vice president under President Jonathan Dean, Rotenberg will assume office later this semester and continue the policies that she and Dean strived to implement over their time in office together.
Rotenberg, a junior political science major, faced two outside candidates in the election: Chris Mignanelli, a residential assistant and critic of the current system of student government, and Elena Ryan who shaped her campaign around her experience in dealing with the outside influences that shape UNH policy.
Rotenberg, meanwhile, pointed to her time as vice president and how she looks to improve upon and continue the work she’s done while in office.
In response to why Rotenberg got involved in student government, she said that she’s always been a leader. Rotenberg referred to her high school leadership, sharing she would be the one to step up in sports or in class.
According to Rotenberg, getting students involved in things like pep rallies and fundraisers as her high school class president has since inspired her to continue as a student leader.
“I hate seeing things not going well, so if I can be a part of the process and help and lead it, hopefully I can help make things better,” Rotenberg said. “That was my thinking getting involved in the first place,”
Rotenberg addressed some concerns raised by opposing candidates during the campaign about the visibility of student government. The student body president-elect said that if students raise that point to her, she will address it, but so far it hasn’t been an issue many students have presented to her.
In addition, Rotenberg listed ways in which the student government tries to reach out to the student body, but that it has to be a two-way street.
“We are trying. It’s not like student senate and the president’s office is doing things behind closed doors and not letting students know,” Rotenberg said.
The incoming president assumes office on May 1, and while Rotenberg acknowledges that finals and graduation are happening then, she hopes to see students stay involved. She also wants to hear from seniors about certain policies they wished had been implemented while attending UNH.
Rotenberg said one of her goals is to be available and help students during finals week by organizing events to help stressed out students or hearing their concerns for the fall semester.
In response to what she sees as possible hindrances to accomplishing certain goals, Rotenberg expressed that it will be difficult for her to know what exactly she can do to help if students aren’t engaged enough.
In order to bring light to the issue, Rotenberg gave an example about a survey that Student Senate sent out and received little feedback on. She said she wants to help turn this around. Another worry she has is finding the appropriate funding for small renovation projects that students bring to her attention.
Speaking on her confidence in student government’s ability to get projects done, Rotenberg referred to two past resolutions in particular, one such being the call for more detailed grading structures. The other resolution she referred to, which administration has agreed to, involved adding more recycling dumpsters on campus.
“I really think students have a unique opportunity with her [as president]. She’s gone through a year of seeing all of the meetings that I have and hearing all the information,” Dean said. “A lot of the time, the problem in student government is continuing the work you’ve done. The university has been around for 150 years. It really takes time to change things. [Rotenberg] will have the chance to continue the work she’s been doing for the last year.”