August 25, 2014 at 5:00 AM
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - During the past five years, if you visited the municipal building during the summer months you may have been helped by one of the many summer interns. For the last four years, Richard Rotella has been one of those interns. Rotella is starting his senior year at the University of New Haven.
In May 2014, Rotella was elected as the president of the University of New Haven’s undergraduate student body. This position oversees 170 organizations on campus, facilitates in funding, but most importantly oversees a 1.65 million dollar budget. There are approximately 4,600 undergraduate students at the University of New Haven. Rotella’s election to Student Body President was far from easy. There was a crowded field of four vying for the top spot. In the end a runoff election was required. It was the first time in school history a runoff was required for student body president. Rotella won the runoff and the top student body spot.
According to Rotella, each candidate self-funds their campaign. The campaigning includes but is not limited to flyers, posters, campaign team, and food to bring to organizations and functions throughout the campaign season.
As President, Rotella, will have his own office, cell phone (so students have 24/7 access to him) and a golf cart for transportation. He will have access to many board members, administrators and faculty that a student normally would not have, in addition to the overall experience. Rotella will also be a speaker at commencements and grand openings of new buildings.
Rotella said his last four years at the borough provided a good foundation for this position especially working in the finance department. In addition to his borough experience, he has a passion for student government. He hopes to be able to help fellow students and making positive changes. Rotella sees his position as an opportunity to bring awareness to the position of Student Body President which may not have existed in the past.
This summer Rotella attended all six University orientations for students. He engaged in conversation with as many students a possible in hopes of getting feedback of the changes the student body would like to see in the upcoming year.
In addition to his roles as president, Rotella is starting his senior year majoring in forensic science with a minor in Chemistry and Mathematics. Rotella also belongs to the Sigma Chi fraternity on campus. When the 21 year old Rotella was asked the “secret of his success”, he replied “I never stop; I am always pushing myself to the next step, but try to have fun along the way.” He hopes after graduation to stay engaged with his community and “see what presents itself, whether it be graduate school or land a position in forensic science or both” said Rotella.
Rotella offered the following advice to students enter college in September, “Don’t be afraid or nervous, everyone is in the same boat. Don’t be afraid of what other people think, be there for yourself. Don’t allow stigmas of the past have a reflection of the present or the future, do what makes you happy, not what your think others want.”