Bryant University’s Class of 2022 possesses essential traits that fulfill the University’s community-based approach to leadership development: compassion, drive and a willingness to step up, says Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students John Saddlemire, Ed.D. This class represents an extraordinarily gifted cohort of leaders and doers: 131 served in high school student government, and another 9 served as class presidents; 70 percent participated in community service and 60 percent held jobs as students.
Voter turnout exceeds average
And, just as the 2018 mid-term elections had a record-breaking turnout, 61 percent of the Class of 2022 voted in Student Government elections, which Saddlemire calls “the highest I have ever witnessed in my 30 years in higher education. Average voter turnout for student elections is less than 25 percent.”
Two-term Student Government President Joseph Rinaldi ’19, a former school committee member in Longmeadow, MA, and two-term high school class vice president, concurs. Low student engagement gave Student Government little legitimacy in advocating policies with the University administration.
“We’ve brought Student Government up to the next level and put it in everyone’s mind as a valuable resource,” says Rinaldi, pleased that the organization’s diverse representation includes more women than ever before, student-athletes, fraternity and sorority members, and international students.
Interest in leadership opportunities
Interest in Student Government leadership opportunities ran high this year, with 14 highly qualified students running for five first-year student senator positions. Their high school leadership experiences, says Rinaldi, “prepare them to be Bryant students. Bryant throws you ‘into the water’ early with group projects and presentations and prepares you for careers.”
The Class of 2022 came to the University prepared for its rigorous curriculum and engaging student life, says Saddlemire. Bryant students quickly realize that very little is achieved alone. Whether participating in sports, academics or student organizations, students need to know how to work with a broad array of skill sets and personalities. “From orientation through graduation, they learn to identify strengths in themselves and in others and then learn to maximize everyone’s contributions to achieve their vision.”