Q&A: Frascello talks SA plans for fall

By Rhea Riley

Senior political science major Joe Frascello was elected Student Association president in early May; as the summer comes to a close, he address what the SA has been up to and its plans for the fall semester.

Rhea Riley: What have you done as president since the school year ended?

Joe Frascello: Where do I start? OK, well, I guess the biggest, most exciting thing that’s recently come up has been with the new task force. Vice President Raquel Chavez and I, we have been starting this initiative that has been started by the NTLT, the National Campus Leadership Counsel. The initiative is based on the prevention of sexual violence against women.

Raquel has been sitting on the task force created by both President Baker and NIU faculty. So, Raquel and I have been reaching out to several other organizations and leaders around campus and DeKalb, including the DeKalb Police Department, the NIU campus police and our Health Enhancement department.

We want to put up programming, especially preventative programming, so we can let our students know of the different programs that we have that help victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse, but also ways to prevent it from happening in the first place.

RR: How has past leadership experience helped you so far?

JF: Well, first of all it’s an ongoing experience. I learn something new every single day, but one of the biggest things that I’ve learned is that I simply don’t know everything, and I’ll never know everything.

I enjoy learning how to do things better from the people that I interact with on a daily basis, and that comes from the students I interact, the faculty and staff I come into contact with and the community members around DeKalb. …

RR: What has the SA been working on since the summer began?

JF: The biggest part, aside from the work on the Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force, would be just making sure that our directors and our executives are on the same page for creating the Strategic Plan, so that we go into this year knowing exactly what our student body needs from us.

It will be focusing on several things such as transportation, the Bold Futures initiatives, the Sexual Assault Prevention initiatives and programming for the student body.

Also, making sure that the students know what the student government is, what we can do for them, how they can get involved and how they can have a better student experience so that they stay, hopefully, for all four years and have a good time while they are here.

RR: Do you have any projects that you are working on?

JF: My directors have a number of projects. Personally, I have been working with the director of Mass and Transit [Brett Williams]. We have been working on the new bus routes; they have been slightly modified to fully operate normal road.

Basically, the bus route will now go down Normal Road. It has been widened, and that is a project that has been handed up by NIU’s administration. So, that’s been a huge project for us, trying to make sure its ready to go, with pamphlets changing them from last year to make them more user-friendly.

We will also be upgrading our Huskie tracker GPS system so that it’s more on track and up to date, as well as changes implemented by the NIU Campus Police with Late Night Ride.

We are working to make a more efficient and effective system. It will have a set route that will run every single night and it will be on time and reliable for the first time in its history.

RR: What do you have planned for the fall?

JF: Plans for the fall would be really all those initiatives, just making sure they come to a solution and getting feedback from the students and community members to make sure that we are on the right track and that we are doing the right things. We are always looking to improve and to make sure that the students are having a good time and that they want to stay here. That ties with Dr. Baker’s initiative of student retention and student career success. One of the first things that we are going to do when students are back on campus is tap into that feedback. We’re going to ask the students what brings you back to campus and what makes you want to leave campus, and we are going to see what we can do to help change that perspective.

RR: What do you have to get done before the fall?

JF: Well, No. 1 is to work with the director of Mass and Transit to make sure that the bus routes are ready to go, that the maps are ready to go and that there isn’t a big confusion because sometimes we overlook how important transportation is. If you can’t get to your class than you’re going to be missing out on your education, so that is something that is extremely important to me and important to my administration to make sure that students are getting to where they need to go on time. So, that’s pretty much No. 1 on our list, including the Late Night Ride service making sure that the students are safe and knowing about the new changes to the Late Night ride service, which is now renamed as the Huskie Safe Line.

RR: What do you hope to get out of this experience?

JF: So, on a personal level the past year as director and going onto this year as president, it’s been a really incredible professional development experience. So, I really enjoy networking, meeting new people, both students and faculty, as well as developing my character and my professional skills inside and outside the office, and really just learning how to be not only just a leader on campus but a leader outside, a leader within my family and friends and in life. I’ve been learning a lot and it’s been an awesome process.