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Newly elected SA president, VP aim for unity among student body

May 9, 2018
photo of Beatriz Gil

Beatriz Gil

That’s the goal of Beatriz Gil ’19 and Jamal Holtz ’20, the Students’ Association president and vice president-elect at the University of Rochester.

“It’s what we ran on and what we believe in,” says Gil, an economics and political science dual major from Barcelona, Spain. “We want to make the student body one.”

Gil and Holtz ran uncontested this spring but met with close to 30 student groups before the election. Both students have been involved in SA government since their first year and have served as senators.

Gil is believed to be the first international student elected president at Rochester. She and Holtz, who is African American, want to ensure that international and underrepresented minority students feel as engaged in campus life as domestic students of any background.

“Jamal has been very focused on getting minority students engaged, and I’ve been focused on international students,” Gil says. Holtz, a political science major from Washington, D.C., thinks his and Gil’s election sends an important signal. “With us being elected, I think it gives hope to students in those communities,” he says.

Gil’s election left her emotional. She remembers running for Senate as a first-year student and facing the possibility of having to answer questions during a Facebook Live event.

photo of Jamal Holtz

Jamal Holtz

“I called my mom crying,” she says. “I was very stressed about speaking in English.”

Now that she’s the president-elect, “I hope it’s inspiring to international students here,” she says. “Any student who comes here can thrive and go far in any leadership position.”

Both students will return home for summer break, but Gil will join Holtz in Washington in June for a conference that brings together student presidents and vice presidents from universities and colleges across the country.

“We’ve already hit the ground running,” Holtz says. “Our goal is to meet with all of the (200-plus) student organizations this fall. We can’t wait.”

  • The Eastman School of Music also will have new student leadership when classes resume this fall. Henry Carpender ’20 was elected Students’ Association president. He is from Mundelein, Illinois, and his majors are applied music and jazz & contemporary media for trombone. Ben Dettelback ’19 will serve as vice president. He’s from Martinsville, New Jersey, and his major is applied music for trombone.

 

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Category: Student Life

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