Pictured from left: Nicholas Duci and Layla Elkoulily
The Box sat down with Nicholas Duci and Layla Elkoulily, the 2019-2020 Student Government Association (SGA) presidents from the New York City and Long Island campuses, respectively. They talk about the changes they plan to make and the things with which students are most concerned.
The Box: Hi Nicholas and Layla! Can you tell us where you are from and what you are majoring in?
Nicholas Duci (ND): I am a hospitality management student. I was born and raised in Babylon, Long Island. All my uncles and one cousin are in the hospitality industry, so this inspired me to pursue this field.
Layla Elkoulily (LE): I am a first-generation Egyptian-American who grew up in Hewlett, N.Y. I am a student in the B.S./D.O. program. I have the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s in Life Sciences and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. I am in my third year of the seven-year program.
Why did you want to run for SGA president?
LE: One of my friends inspired me to join the SGA. She explained how the SGA can serve as an advocate for students, and that resonated with me.
ND: I originally ran for vice president in May 2019 and then became president. I ran because I wanted to improve the campus we have here. During my freshman year, I saw some good things and bad things about student life on campus. For example, I didn’t feel I was informed enough about events. My goal for this year is to inform more students and get them involved on campus.
What are some of the things you would like to do?
ND: One of the main things that I want to change on campus is to add more clubs. While we have some amazing students here who run great clubs, I would love to broaden the SGA’s horizons and see more extracurricular clubs. I have already achieved part of this with the recent addition of the Saudi Club, which represents the Saudi Arabian international students we have on campus.
LE: I hope to address the concerns of students and help their academic success by creating an environment that supports and listens to them.
What are some of the things you find that students are most excited about? And what are some of the things they would like to see change?
LE: Honestly, it differs. A lot of students want more variety in campus dining, many are satisfied. Students in Manhattan are worried about the move. Students on Long Island are excited about the new campus commons. Most people want to feel they are being heard and have answers to their questions.
ND: Our clubs are the one thing students are the most excited about. Whether it be LIFE club’s Super Smash Bros Tournament, or a National Society of Black Engineers conference, our students like our clubs the most. On the flip side, the lack of meeting space is the one complaint we hear about the most through our suggestion box.
For students who may not be aware about the SGA, can you explain what the organization does?
ND: The SGA is the governing body that oversees clubs and their budgets. We oversee the senate and make sure it runs smoothly without arguments or lengthy debates. We also instate rules on how much clubs can spend on certain items, host events that connect students and faculty, and help create new clubs.
LE: We help run and manage clubs and run and manage Town Hall meetings. Town Hall is an event that allows students to give their feedback and suggestions and be heard by the administration.
How can students join?
ND: Students can join the SGA during elections, where they can campaign to be the next student leader to help and guide clubs and the student body. Students can email email@example.com for more information.
LE: We have various committees and senator positions available. Students can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.