Those who hold student government positions are not only are leaders, but represent their college and strive to be a voice for students. They hold incredibly important positions. They help solve issues and want what is best for the enrolled students on campus. Nicholas Riccardelli, a junior marketing major, holds the current Student Government President position at St. John’s University’s Staten Island Campus. With the unfortunate announcement of St. John’s Staten Island Campus closing in 2024, Riccardelli will be its last Student Government, Inc. (SGI) President. Riccardelli shared a few thoughts on the current responsibilities of Student Government President and what he hopes to see on the Staten Island campus before it closes its doors in 2024.
Read on to know more about Nick’s plans for the campus, and his experience as SGI President:
Q: What inspired you to run for office?
NR: At first, I did not think that I was going to run for president. Before they announced the Staten Island Campus was closing, it was just an idea in my mind. However, after some time, and after the announcement, I realized what the past presidents have done. I wanted to fill in those shoes. Not so much to be better, but to actual make my time as president worth it. What also inspired me was that in our last year on this campus, I seek to bring people together. We are a small campus, so I think it is important during our final year to be connected with one another.
Q: What student government position did you hold before becoming president? How would that position differ from the presidential position?
NR: Before becoming president, I was the Staten Island Tobin Business senator. I would mostly hold business events and organize things for the Tobin college. The way it would be different is, you would be planning events as senator, organizing things related to those events, taking part in meetings. However, as for president, you are basically head of every event. You oversee what events are going on. You have the ability to change things on campus and listen to the voices of the students. You have to be a part of everything. You also have to be more professional in most aspects. Since you are the face of the school and student government.
Q: What are the responsibilities as student government president?
NR: As a president, you are the face of the school. You have to be a professional leader; someone the students look up to. One of the most important responsibilities is making sure everyone is in a safe and happy environment. You have to try to break any tension there is between other people, if there are problems you must be a problem solver. You also need to work together with other members in student government, because of course you can’t do it alone. Teamwork is a big responsibility.
Q: What are some goals you hope to accomplish during your presidency?
NR: I want to create an archive/time capsule of some Staten Island campus memories. I think that would be really interesting if I am able to pull it off. It would allow former Staten Island campus students, as well as the current Queen’s Campus students look back and view the lives of the students on the Staten Island campus, and how it was like. I also want to attempt to create a podcast of some sort; with professors, students anyone who is willing to talk about their time and experiences on the St. John’s Staten Island campus. Even if one person sees it years later, it would change something, change an aspect in their mind. I would be able to learn some insight from it as well. It would be enjoyable, not just for me but also for the listeners.
Q: What did you learn/what will you learn during your presidency?
NR: I would most likely learn how to deal with all kinds of people. I would have to communicate with other organizations in St. John’s and work together with them. Out of everything, my communication skills, as well as teamwork skills would definitely be improved. I would have to be laid back and professional and listen to all sides of all ideas from other organizations and students. I would have to learn to be a problem solver, and the glue to fixing any problems. It would make me a strong leader. I have a lot of plans for the remaining future of the campus. These skills would help me be a memorable leader for the students to remember me by.
Q: Would your past self be surprised you ended up with this position? What advice would you give your past self?
NR: My past self would 100% be surprised I ended up with this position. It was unexpected. I did not think I would end up here today. Back in high school, I was the “unpopular popular kid.” I was very shy, and I was not exactly doing what I wanted to do. I would just get up for school, go to school, and just left to go home. COVID did not make it easier. If you told me two years from now, I would end up as president of my campus, I would not believe you. I am very satisfied with myself and very happy with everything I have achieved to this point in my life. I am in a really great space now. Between my friend group and having the opportunities I have right now. Which shows you can absolutely do anything even if you believe right now that you don’t think you can achieve it. I would tell my past self to don’t be afraid to be yourself. Do stuff that you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to get out there. You only live once, take the risks and don’t be afraid.
Q: What is the most challenging part about holding a student government position/president position at St. John’s?
NR: Starting I felt was the most challenging part. I had a lot of ideas and in the beginning, but they were just my ideas, just blueprints. I had to make them come to life. I had to start somewhere and build myself to become a good leader. The second hardest would be making the students be active on campus. A lot of students just go to class and go home. After all the classes end, students mostly just leave. I want to change that and fix that problem. I want to give students a reason to want to participate and stay. It is hard to do that, but it is not impossible. I feel that would mostly be my hardest thing, especially considering it is going to be our last year on this campus.
Q: Do you have aspirations to run for any political positions after graduation?
NR: I do not have any aspirations to run for any political positions after graduation. Politics are not much of my scene. If I were to, I would want to be someone that brings change and someone that people count on. I would want to better my community. However, as of right now, I plan on pursuing a career somewhere in the field of business or related.
Q: After graduation, what career do you plan on pursuing? Will your presidency position somehow be of help?
NR: As of right now, I would want to do something I find enjoyable. I am a very outgoing person who enjoys engaging in conversation and just talking in general. I would possibly want to have a career in the field of marketing. If not that, then have my own sort of business one day. I like the idea of me having responsibility in creating my own business. I still have a few concerns though regarding the outside factors of being a business owner. It can be risky; you have to make sure you are heading in the right direction. Whatever decision I make for my future career, I hope it is the right one.
Q: If you could be remembered for one accomplishment during your time as President at St. John’s, what would that be?
NR: I would want to be remembered as a person who’s tried. I want people to look back and remember that the final year on St. John’s Staten Island was memorable. I want to try to make this last year memorable for all students in all grades. I hope people remember this last year as a good year, a year where we all came together rather than apart. I want to also create projects that will have students from the St. John’s Queens Campus and other campuses remember and know who we were and know what Staten Island was about.