Having won the Rutgers University Student Assembly’s spring 2021 elections, Assembly President Gavin Mayes and Vice President Nikhil Sadaranganey, School of Arts and Sciences juniors, revealed their plans for their first 100 days in office and beyond.
Mayes said his first 100 days as president of the Assembly will be spent preparing for students’ return to campus in the fall. He said the newly appointed executive board will work on specific issues such as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief, technology and recognition of student work.
In addition, Mayes said he would tackle living conditions on campus by establishing a Department of Infrastructure and Campus Improvements and investing capital in campus renovations.
“I am a student like everyone else and it pains me to see neglected aspects of our community,” he said. “My idea of turning our house into our home came to fruition after seeing peer institutions and the value they place on student living conditions.”
Sadaranganey said the administration will work throughout the summer to prepare legislation for the fall and keep the student body regularly updated on its progress.
As the Assembly’s new vice president, Sadaranganey said his first steps in office will be to acquaint himself with the heads of different committees of the Assembly and discuss their plans for the year, he said. Additionally, the administration will work to keep the momentum of the previous administration’s initiatives.
Mayes said his administration will address the impacts of the ongoing pandemic by improving Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services to address students’ mental health needs and working with the University to ensure safety measures on campus.
“In terms of the pandemic, we will be working closely with the (Rutgers) administration to ensure a safe but conducive learning environment is experienced by those returning to campus this fall,” Mayes said.
Sadaranganey said the administration will also continue to support students financially via the RUSA Recovery Fund.
To address racial inequity at Rutgers, Sadaranganey said the administration seeks to pass a coalition program that will allow students from different backgrounds to form coalitions in the Assembly to push for awareness and policy on various issues.
Mayes said he also hopes to focus on socioeconomic inequity on campus by working to remove barriers to equity and inclusion, such as University tuition prices.
In the long-term, Mayes said his administration wants to be more active in students’ lives by interacting with other campus organizations and clubs. To make the Assembly a more visible presence on campus, Sadaranganey said he aims to broadcast informational videos on social media to keep students informed on the Assembly’s work.
He said the Assembly hopes to increase civic engagement in the Rutgers community and reverse a trend of low voter turnout for its elections.
“Hopefully raising civic engagement at Rutgers will not only increase turnout in (the Assembly's) elections, but (also) empower Rutgers students to be changemakers in their respective communities as well,” Sadaranganey said.
Mayes said he hopes his administration will address issues important to students and ones he said he has personally dealt with, such as inadequate campus living conditions. Sadaranganey said he aims to use his platform as vice president to improve the Rutgers experience for fellow students.
“We care about our fellow students and we will not pass up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference and improve the lives of thousands of people in the Rutgers community,” he said.