This year’s Freshman Class Council roster reads like the list of delegates at a United Nations meeting. The officers hail from a host of countries scattered across the globe, including places as far away as Puerto Rico, Spain, China and Dubai, and as close as UR’s own backyard.
Beatriz Gil Gonzalez, president of the Class Council, is an international student from Barcelona, Spain. She is interested in politics and is passionate about inclusion, culture and working with others.
Deema Abdo was born in Syria, but has lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates most of her life. She holds the position of Event Coordinator and is planning on double majoring in Business and Film and Media Studies. Abdo says that she decided to run for Class Council because she “knew I had many great ideas for our freshman year and thought it would be a great opportunity to put them into action.”
Ramon Nieves is the Business Manager and calls Puerto Rico home. Of the diversity in his class, Ramon says, ” Since I came here, I can honestly say I [have] met a great friend from Syria, and I feel as if I’m living right around the corner from Hong Kong, Turkey and South Africa simultaneously. Every door I knock on and every friend I make is part of a different and even more diverse story that I am privileged to join.”
Devan Baijal is originally form Nashville, Tennessee, but has lived in Yokohoma, Japan for the last two years. He is Vice President of the class council and wants to “help make this freshman year as memorable as it can be.”
Brandon Reinskensmeyer, Spirit Week Coordinator, is from Collinsville, IL and has an enthusiasm for getting the freshman class involved in the Greater Rochester community.
“We have an endless supply of opportunities at our hands, and I plan on taking full advantage of our amazing resources,” he says.
Brandon is studying Brain and Cognitive Science and Psychology.
John Cole is a first generation American whose whole family is South African. He was born in Ithaca, but grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, and decided to run for class council because he ” loves being involved in campus activities and helping put on events for the student body to enjoy.” He is studying International Relations and Financial Economics and plans on running for Class Council again when his term as Sponsorship Chair is up.
SeokJin “Jin” Kim is the Publicity Chair and says he is “amazed and humbled by the different kinds of people that I have been surrounded by here [at the U of R].” He hails from Chicago and became involved in Class Council because he wanted to find a way to engage with the Rochester community.
Kristie Kaczmarek is the Logistics Chair and is from Amsterdam, New York, a small town outside of Albany. She is studying Biochemical Engineering and says that she joined Class Council because she “felt that it would be a fun experience to get to know my classmates. After a semester of Class Council, my hopes for the council have been far exceeded!”
Perhaps the most interesting member of the council is Zeen “Zane” Xiao, who is from, in his own words, “the middle of nowhere” China and just turned 16 years old last week. He is the youngest, by far, member of the Class Council. Intending on double majoring in History and Art History as well as minoring in Music, this exceptional young man wasn’t daunted by the age difference between himself and his peers when he came to school. He took the initiative to run for an office in his first semester and was elected the Secretary of Class Council when he was still just 15, proving that age is truly just a number when it comes to school spirit.
Today marks the start of Spirit Week, which will be chock full of fun events, giveaways, and surprise Rocky appearances.
Here’s a list of the activities:
Monday 2/1: Free Spirit Week Giveaway in Hirst Lounge 12-2 p.m.
Tuesday 2/2: Rochester Day in Hirst Lounge 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Wednesday 2/3: Open Mic Night in Hirst Lounge 7-10 p.m.
Thursday 2/4: Movie & Hot Chocolate: Finding Nemo in the Gowen room from 7-8:40 p.m.
Friday 2/5: Spirit Week Pep Rally in Hirst Lounge at 5 pm, Women’s Basketball game in the Louis A. Alexander Palestra at 6 pm, Men’s Basketball game in the Louis A. Alexander Palestra at 8 p.m.
Saturday 2/6: Buses looping to the Strong Museum of Play from 12:30-4:30.
Sunday 2/7: Super Bowl Party in Hirst Lounge at 6 p.m.
Make sure to check out these cool events, get your picture taken with Rocky and support Class Council!