Serafina Genise is a bubbly and outgoing student at Montclair State University with dreams of performing in her favorite musical, “Spring Awakening.” However, for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, Genise will be taking on a different role: president of the Student Government Association (SGA).
The 21-year-old soon-to-be senior majoring in history with a minor in sociology considered running for president because of the SGA’s ability to inspire change on campus.
“I realized how much of an impact that these roles have,” Genise said. “Just kind of from seeing so much, I was like, ‘I can do so much, and I want to do so much.’”
Genise was involved with the SGA for multiple years before running for president. She spent the 2017-2018 school year as the director of academic affairs and previously sat on the executive board of a Class I organization.
“The people I’ve met are my favorite part of [the SGA],” Genise said.
Executive Treasurer for the 2017-2018 school year, Jason Liskoff, believes that Genise will do a great job as president and hopes her important initiatives will be accomplished.
“She wants to give students more of a voice here on campus,” Liskoff said. “She wants to connect the SGA to the administration a little better. I know she worked really hard as director of academic affairs. She’ll do great.”
During her years with the SGA, Genise observed other members “get the ball rolling” on creating change at the school, which she plans to continue for next year.
“If there’s ever an issue, students can go to their fellow students and have those conversations about what they want to see change and actually be fully understood, and then have that person who can go right to administration and explain it to them,” Genise said.
The Summerville, New Jersey native not only wants to improve problems that students see on campus, but also aspires to develop the perception of the SGA as something more than just a business or corporation.
“There’s lots of positions, like there’s cabinet positions for academic affairs and equity and diversity,” Genise said. “We have people here who are passionate about those things, but they need other people who are passionate about those things to help give them something to do.”
Genise describes herself as a “people person” and wants students to know that even though she will be SGA president, she is not a scary person and everyone should feel comfortable talking to her.
“I’m here for the students,” Genise said. “That’s why I ran, because I want to know what they want me to do and what they want to see change.”
Though she is petite at just 5 feet 1 inch tall, Genise is still a force to be reckoned with. She encourages students to come to her with any problems they may have on campus so she can work to improve them.
“We’re a student government. We’re here for the students,” Genise said. “The students need to know that their voices can be heard, and this is the place for them to go to get their voices heard and to make the impact that they want to make.”
Genise plans to go to graduate school for higher education and counseling after her reign as SGA president. She aims to become an academic advisor.
“I have a real passion for academics and kind of helping people figure out their path and kind of where they belong,” Genise said.
Her passion for helping students find their way is not too far in the future. She will have office hours next year and encourages students to stop by and chat about any inquiries they may have.
“If you ever want to know [what’s going on in campus] or have any questions or want to see something being done, come,” Genise said. “Sit down and talk.”