President’s Student Advisory Council Begins Second Year
Panel To Explore Civil Discourse Issues in Fall Semester
Now in its second year, the President’s Student Advisory Council has begun meeting with President Dennis Assanis and other administrators to offer their views and recommendations on a variety of topics that are important to the University of Delaware experience.
The council is composed of 13 undergraduates and four graduate students, including the presidents of the Student Government Association and Graduate Student Government. Through an application and interview process, members were selected last spring from about 60 students who had been nominated by various leaders at UD.
“This is an engaged, accomplished group of students representing every portion of the University. My wife, Eleni, and I are looking forward to hearing their perspectives and insights about the issues that matter to them,” Assanis said. “Together, we can work to improve our campus community for everyone at UD.”
The council will meet regularly to provide their input and feedback on multiple student-centered topics, including the University’s accomplishments and its challenges. Through meaningful dialogue, workable recommendations will be developed to address students’ concerns. For the fall semester, the council is exploring the topic of civil discourse.
“Civil discourse has long been a value at UD, and I believe it can be emblematic of the UD community,” said José-Luis Riera, vice president of student life. “President Assanis has a vision that every student will graduate with strong skills in civil discourse, so we are excited for the council to come up with creative ideas to elevate the learning and engagement of civil discourse for all Blue Hens.”
The council’s first meeting on Sept. 19 featured a presentation by Timothy Shaffer, director of the SNF Ithaca Initiative at UD, which is focused on the teaching and practice of civil discourse in society.
“Civil discourse can be difficult because we all have strong opinions that we want to defend, but we can learn to improve our dialogue skills and build a culture of civil discourse here on campus,” Shaffer said. “Working with the President’s Student Advisory Council on this topic provides a great opportunity to advance this work with our student leaders.”
Created in the 2022-23 academic year, the inaugural council addressed several topics, including diversity, sustainability, free speech and campus safety.
In the spring, a nomination and application process will open to identify members of the 2024-25 council.
The members of the 2023-24 President’s Student Advisory Council are:
- Fanta Barry — Bear, Delaware; Lerner College of Business and Economics
- Alyssa Brown — Syracuse, New York; College of Health Sciences
- Zion Buchanan — Wilmington, Delaware; Biden School of Public Policy and Administration
- Madison (Madi) Drew — Georgia, Vermont; College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Honors College
- Luke Gibbons — Dumont, New Jersey; Lerner College of Business and Economics
- Gabriella Gooden — Montgomery, New York; College of Arts and Sciences
- Isabella Haigney — Macungie, Pennsylvania; College of Arts and Sciences and Honors College
- Julia Hatoum — Hockessin, Delaware; College of Engineering and Honors College; President of the Student Government Association
- Miles Inter-Combs — Dover, Delaware; Lerner College of Business and Economics
- Aretha Korsah — Middletown, Delaware; College of Arts and Sciences
- Meghan Rogers — Lakewood, Ohio; College of Arts and Sciences
- Fryda Ruiz-Torres — Wilmington, Delaware; College of Education and Human Development
- Derek Wu — Sparks Glencoe, Maryland; College of Arts and Sciences, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment and Honors College
- Julie Elliott — Denton, Texas; Biden School of Public Policy and Administration
- Minji Kong — South Korea and Delaware; College of Engineering
- Alan Parkes — Fredericksburg, Virginia; College of Arts and Sciences; President of the Graduate Student Government
- Eric Sterin — Cleveland, Ohio; College of Engineering
Read this story on UDaily.
Article by Mike Chalmers. Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson.