A chat with the President of Student Government
By Arianna Zomparelli / Staff Writer
Born in Lima, Peru, Luca Azzariti Croussilat is a senior student at JCU and President of Student Government expecting to graduate in International Affairs and Economics and Finance. Being this Spring 2021 his last semester, I found a moment to speak with him and ask him to look back at his time at JCU.
Luca said he had always dreamt of attending and studying at an American University. He chose JCU as he was already living in Rome, where he has made many beautiful memories. He still remembers the first day when he met some students, who, to this day, he still considers his best friends. He said he has enjoyed many of his classes, the first being Politics of Gender, which made him completely change the way he saw himself and others within society. Luca also mentioned how through such well-taught courses, such as Human Rights, Slavery and Literature, Jane Austen, and International Criminal Law, he has been able to be challenged intellectually and grow.
His experience as a member of Student Government
Luca has been a member of Student Government since his first semester at John Cabot. He started as a general member and then proceeded to become Chief of Staff. He recalls that during his first semester, Student Government was seen more as party committee rather than an actual representative of the student body. The role of Student Government has since evolved, and it is always becoming more recognized and more successful in voicing students’ opinions. Student Government’s main interest has been to advocate for the students whose voices were not heard, and despite the hardships, they are now successfully considered as an important committee. To be accepted and valued, he said that they had to challenge the status quo of the university and confront members of the faculty and the Administration as they were not used to having a student body that would question their work. Luca believes that this confrontation with members of the University can be defined as educational to both the students and the institution, as it was a way for growth and improvement.
Through monthly meetings, members of Student Government discuss issues that they see and are vocal about them. Since the start of Luca’s presidency in May 2020, his cabinet has participated in several university meetings, and their biggest accomplishment as Student Government has been the institutionalization of the Diversity Taskforce, which they started in conjunction with the African World Cultural Club as a response to the institution initially not acknowledging their concern of what was happening in the United States last Summer and the movement of Black Lives Matter. According to Luca, this changed the way that JCU viewed the Student Government, and, in fact, changed the way in which the university communicated with the members of Student Government. Luca said the meetings with the faculty members have also improved as they are based on honest and engaged conversations and on mutual understanding. Moreover, the recent institutionalization of the Diversity Committee as a branch of Student Government has also been a very positive change. The Diversity Committe can be seen as a safe space for students to voice their concerns and problems. Moreover, John Cabot University has also institutionalized the Climate Countdown Committee. All these committees serve as a setting to discuss matters that are not discussed enough; even if they can be considered to be uncomfortable subjects.
Changes and implementation at JCU during Luca’s presidency
According to Luca, a change in the attitude of faculty towards students is a big change he’s seen during his presidency. There has been an active improvement in the meetings with the Faculty, as the issues presented are heard and not dismissed. Luca said he has made it clear from the first meeting that the Student Government was not going to be submissive and rather stand up for what they believed in, despite faculty being in a higher place of authority. Moreover, Luca said he can see an improved partnership with all the clubs, which allows them to make a body that can better represent the student life and can benefit and incorporate every single student. The administration has been more accepting and willing to discuss and listen to students’ problems. Luca thinks that another Student Government goal that he sees realized is that students are now more understood and are in a position where their voice matters, and where they are heard.
Presidency during Covid
According to Luca, COVID-19 has impacted his presidency both in a positive and in a negative way. In terms of meetings, he believes that his life has become much busier and some of his days are full of online meetings. On the bright side, however, the Student Government has been able to unify the student body, and many people were interested in participating in meetings and engaging with multiple clubs; even organizing meetings with students resulted to be much easier than ever. However, Luca said he does feel a bit sad about his presidency being under the Covid impact, mainly because they were not able to do many of the plans they had in program. Nonetheless, Luca said he still feels positive, as he believes that during these times, where more students engaged with the various clubs, they were able to recognize the issues that they did not identify during the normal school year, and they were able to resolve them. Also, this higher engagement of students meant more proposals and work to do, for which he said he is very thankful that his cabinet worked hard with him and helped him throughout these times.
Luca asserts that many students would be amazing candidates for a future SG administration. The positions that are available are President, Vice President and Treasurer. He said he is positive about the elections and is hopeful that his administration would inspire and empower students. He wishes for a new administration that continues to challenge those who are in power and refuse to listen to concerns raised by others. Moreover, he hopes that the Student Government will continue to represent the voice of all students.
Plans after JCU
Luca intends to go to law school in the United States and become an advocate for human rights. He said he developed his passion for this matter during his time at JCU while attending a class of Gender Politics and realizing that law would be something worth pursuing. His objective in the future is to be a civil rights lawyer. In the beginning, he would want to work in the United States first and then go back to Peru to hopefully help people with the injustices faced in Peru, mostly focusing on women and LGBTQ + rights. What inspired Luca to pursue such career was the unfairness that he has experienced in Peru and then in Italy. Through him feeling powerless, he was inspired to fight for those who are different and marginalized.