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Letter to the Editor

News Story

Bartek Szymanski '18, president of the Student Government Association on the NYC Campus, shares his excitement about a historic moment for Pace Performing Arts in this week's letter to the editor.

Written by Bartek Szymanski

This has been a long journey for me ever since joining the Student Government Association (SGA) as a freshman and running for Freshman Class President, since there was no option to represent the Pace Performing Arts (PPA), as I hoped to do. After learning that PPA students were finding difficulty in making their voices heard, I spoke up during SGA meetings and to several members about the possibility of PPA Senate positions, but was met with heavy opposition.

Later on, there came a time when space on campus was limited, and one of the first propositions by many senators was to take away PPA's priority access to the few rooms they had reserved in One Pace Plaza. As the only senator part of the PPA department during those meetings, I spoke up and had to convince two-thirds of the senate that it was a step backwards, and thankfully, no such resolution was passed. I knew at that point it was time to build a bridge between SGA and the PPA community, but in order to reach a maximal level of effectiveness, it was my goal to be elected as Executive President—the highest position in the SGA.

I had the idea of implementing new senate seats for PPA students in my head over the last three years, but I had to be patient and careful with what I said and what I promised. During the election, my campaign numerously stated that, "A vote for Bartek is a place for PPA in-office," which caught the attention of many PPA students. However, it wasn't clear as to what that meant exactly. Nevertheless, in March of 2017, I was elected and became the first-ever PPA student elected as Executive President of the SGA. History was made, and it was a huge step for PPA.

After taking office, I became aware that a PPA Student Committee was being formed and quickly made contact with them. After learning more about current PPA issues, I invited their President, Brandon Adam '19, and his counterpart, Erin DiIorio '18, to become part of the SGA Fellowship Program, shadowing Executive Vice President Lulu Chu '19, who was also a strong advocate for PPA representation. My main goal was to warm up the relationship between SGA members and PPA students before introducing any sort of legislation.

In December, a roundtable discussion was held, and all different PPA majors came to speak up about the issues at hand. SGA senators proactively asked questions and became aware of the problems faced by PPA students. After the discussion, senators were convinced that PPA was in need of representation, which prompted me to propose two new senate seats solely for PPA students on the Executive Board, and eventually, the senate. With the help and support of Lulu Chu, Brandon Adam, and Erin DiIorio, the legislation passed unanimously on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

With SGA elections starting the week after, a plethora of candidates not associated with the Performing Arts used PPA representation as key points in their campaign promises, which was virtually never seen before. It was also the first time that PPA students were eligible to run for PPA President and PPA Vice President.

This past Friday, the results were in and the first-ever PPA senators were announced:

  • Brandon Adam, President
  • Alyssa Kakis '19, Vice President

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