As a Student Government presidential candidate for the ICE ticket at St. John’s University, Ridge McKnight plans to add and uphold three main pillars: ‘prioritizing student services for greater student success,’ ‘fortifying the St. John’s community’ and ‘strengthening the Student Government Inc. and organization relationship.’
“We believe that if we complete those three, St. John’s will be in a better place after our year of term,” McKnight said.
As a junior studying health and human services, McKnight hopes to improve the St. John’s community by bettering collegiate involvement, participation and life for students. His ticket’s name, ICE, stands for “Improving the Collegiate Experience.”
In ‘improving the collegiate experience,’ McKnight and the ICE team plan to uphold their three main pillars, along with encompassing each of their goals.
Under ‘fortifying the St. John’s community,’ McKnight hopes to increase pride within students by gaining a sponsor for RedZone, an organization that strives to raise school spirit at St. John’s. McKnight hopes to attain a sponsorship from local pizzerias such as Regina’s, Vincenzo’s and Gino’s, or the chain restaurant Qdoba.
“We play at Madison Square Garden and we play on Fox Sports many times, so I think not only would the company benefit from a sponsorship because they would get exposure, but we’ll also benefit from giveaways and barbecues, and it will amp up the student section more,” McKnight said.
Another goal under ‘fortifying the St. John’s community’ is exemplifying the Vincentian mission at St. John’s. If elected, McKnight intends to add onto the “SGI Serves” initiative, where the St. John’s community would participate in at least one service event a month. Each month the service events would have a different focus, whether it would be a midnight run, or raising awareness for Relay for Life.
“We see the importance of it, and we see that when you’re serving with your fellow students, you really get a sense of community out of that,” he explained.
With ‘prioritizing student services for greater student success,’ McKnight and his team look forward to working with the advisement process for St. John’s students. He discloses that although advisement services are not inefficient, students have displayed concern over them.
“We want to work with the provost and with the deans of each college to really simplify, centralize and clear up the confusion with the advisement process,” said McKnight.
Lastly, under ‘strengthening the Student Government Inc. and organization relationship,’ McKnight and the rest of ICE anticipate ensuring every organization’s budget is effectively used. To bolster this pillar, ICE plans to ease the process of event planning through adding student consultants and creating an established step-by-step process. In this process, event planners would be given checklists explaining each step to accomplish in order to complete their outlining.
“We want to make this consultant for the students who aren’t the greatest event planners,” he said. “We want to set-up an easy step-by-step process so that no one is confused,”
McKnight, who is currently the chair of RedZone and has had experience with SGI’s Budget Committee as co-chair during his sophomore year, believes that in voting for ICE, students are working towards improving their experience at St. John’s University.
On ICE’s Facebook page, McKnight writes that, “The better SJU is the better chance students have to achieve their academic, extracurricular and professional endeavors.”
“It’s not to say that we’re not already a great university,” he said. “It’s to say, ‘let’s keep working towards greatness.’”