A March 11 email sent out to all Rowan University students announced the results of the 2016 Student Government Association (SGA) elections, naming Daniel Cardona the SGA president for the 2016-17 school year.
Cardona, a junior communications studies major, has known since the beginning of his college career that he would work to become SGA president.
“Coming into my freshmen year, there were three goals — become a PROS member, to finish college with a 3.5 GPA, and to hopefully, eventually, run for SGA president,” Cardona said.
Cardona first became involved in SGA during the 2015 fall semester, as a senator for the Class of 2017.
“I don’t think I was ready [before this year] for student government, it’s very structured,” Cardona said. “And I don’t think I was mature enough to make decisions in SGA or voice my opinions until this year. Now I feel like I’m more in the groove of how SGA is structured and how it runs.”
Having not only achieved his freshman aspiration of becoming a member of the Peer Referral and Orientation Staff (PROS), Cardona also became a Resident Assistant (RA) in Chestnut Hall.
“[Being a PROS member,] I would positively impact a new student’s Rowan experience, but only for two days. I became an RA so I could positively impact students throughout their entire first year of college,” Cardona said. “These positions made it really easy to learn how to touch base with any individual.”
Through his position as a PROS member and an RA, Cardona believes he is highly qualified and prepared to take on the SGA presidency.
“I feel that there’s no one more qualified than I am for this position on this campus right now,” Cardona said. “My leadership skills through different organizations and different positions I’ve held on campus have prepared me for this. I can impact the student body positively this next coming year.”
Among Cardona’s plans, he hopes to improve mental health services at the Wellness Center for all students. After talking to students and hearing from various RA’s first hand, Cardona saw a need to call attention to the lack of campus-based services.
“When people go to the Wellness Center and the line is out the door, you have to wait weeks on end to get an appointment,” Cardona said. “They can’t diagnose you with [mental illness] on campus, you have to be taken elsewhere to an outside avenue. I want to try and figure out a way to get that on campus.”
Cardona went on to point out that it is imperative to collaborate with other universities and institutions in order to figure out a concrete course of action.
“Yes, we have individual and group counseling, but for mental health services to improve … we have to partner with other institutions and other universities and see what research we can do to make things better,” Cardona said.
Cardona’s other endeavors include improving senator involvement in SGA and figuring out better ways to hear student concerns and address them properly.
Cardona’s father, Joe Cardona, is the Vice President of University Relations at Rowan, and is a past SGA president himself. Joe Cardona has urged Cardona to devise a concrete plan to complete what he wants to accomplish as SGA president.
“My father always talks to the SGA president [at the beginning of their term] and he tells them to think of the top three things they want to change on campus, and get them done as soon as possible because you’ll run out of time,” Cardona said. “I’m focusing on getting with my executive board and getting everything complete by the end of this year, so over the summer I can organize these things. And then next year, we can see what we will change on this campus.”
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