The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Interview with Newly Elected Dartmouth Student Assemby President Adrian Ferrari '14

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Adrian Ferrari '14 was recently elected student body president of Dartmouth College. He hails from Los Altos, California, where he was politically active, often working on campaigns and helping to organize fundraisers.  At Dartmouth, he is a Government major with a minor in Public Policy. Adrian is also a familiar face in the Rockefeller Center, having participated in First Year Fellows, Civic Skills Training, the Management and Leadership Development Program, and the Global Leadership Program for the Prague Foreign Study. Courtney Wong '15 sat down with Adrian for an interview for the Rockefeller Center blog. 

CW: What encouraged you to run in the first place? 
AF: Definitely my residents. I’m a freshman UGA and honestly, it's the most rewarding thing that I have ever done at Dartmouth. Freshmen have so many questions and as a junior you want to try to help them, introduce them to new people, and help them get involved.  When they first arrive on campus, they’re excited and have all this energy but they don’t know where to release it! On the macro level, I think every freshman needs to have someone dedicated to them with the resources to point them in the right direction.

Courtney Wong (CW): What are your goals for your presidential term and what are the things you would like to work on first? 
Adrian Ferrari (AF): I’m really approaching this position to heave out two main goals. One, I want to increase the Student Assembly’s (SA) relevance on campus and two, I want to promote a renewed focus on freshman and upperclassmen connections.  I’d really like to reorient some things around to set up freshmen for the best success at Dartmouth.  I’d like to support a freshman mentoring program, which was in trial this year in one of the residential clusters. But I’d like to expand this mentoring program so it provides universal access where we would link up a freshman to an upperclassman mentor, and hopefully expand those connections.

Adrian Ferrari is a former First Year Fellow.

CW: How can we improve the communication between the Dartmouth administration and students through the Student Assembly? 
AF: There are three main student groups that lobby with the administration.  These are Palaeopitus, the Inter-Community Council, and the Student Assembly.  I believe that these three groups should be communicating more to represent a stronger, more cohesive voice for the student body.  It is very important that these three groups are on the same page, and I think their goals overlap a lot.  If they all bring the same message to the administration, it would make support for the student body’s demands much stronger.  If the groups know what each other is trying to accomplish, they can voice support for each other. 
CW:  During the SA debate, you mentioned that one of your goals was to change the conventional leadership structure of the student body presidency. Could you elaborate further?
AF: What I wanted to emphasize during the campaign was that it isn’t really about me and my running mate. Effecting change is hard and requires a lot of organizing. Most of the students dedicating to making change at Dartmouth are already spending every extracurricular hour they have to improve it.  It doesn’t make sense for a SA president to come in and say that he or she has a new solution.  Rather, I believe that it should take an extended effort to look outward to see what’s already being done on campus to improve it. That’s why one of my first orders of business is a group listening tour, where I’m literally just going to go around campus and extend myself to be invited to any meeting to learn about how SA can support them.  I want to learn about the community and any programs campus organizations could use additional support for, and offer as many resources I can give them.
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"Adrian has always been very motivated and passionate.  I have seen him use the competency-based training and other opportunities we offer through Rockefeller Center programs to the fullest. He has always been interested in policy issues that matter to him either on or off campus, and I wish him success as he works to serve the Dartmouth community." --Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center

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CW: At Rocky, we emphasize skills that promote leadership, collaboration and innovation. You’ve been involved with Rocky programs in the past and are seen as kind of a role model for younger students. What advice would you give to them about navigating the Dartmouth landscape? 
AF: Advice I wish I had had as a freshman…well I wish someone told me that you should only do things that you like.  I know that sounds really simple but I applied for so many things that I thought I should be involved or committed in – often doing things I didn’t necessarily enjoy.  Of course it’s great to try new things, but focusing on finding what makes you happy now will make you better off in the future.  If you’re constantly engaged in what you really are passionate about, not only will your day-to-day life be more fun, but you will gain the skills and expertise for jobs and leadership roles that you should really be doing.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences