by Analisa Novak
If someone would have told Marissa Cusano that she would be making campaign posters for herself last year, she wouldn’t believe it. But the commuter senator has grown a lot within her time at Central Connecticut State University; so much that that she is throwing in her hat in the race for Vice President of the Student Government Association.
The Southington native, who first arrived at CCSU three years ago, found that commuting to campus was affecting her ability to be involved. It was then, that Cusano decided to get involved in one of the biggest organizations on-campus Greek life.
“I joined because I lacked confidence in myself and I wasn’t involved on campus at all. Being a commuter and being involved was hard for me. Phi Sigma Sigma gave me the confidence to aim high and really reach for the goals I wanted to accomplish. It was a home away from home for me,” Cusano said.
She found confidence within the many philanthropy events that Phi Sigma Sigma holds on campus, including the annual ALS walk, in which this year she is chairing.
“Phi Sigma Sigma taught me how to feel a sense of belonging on campus and how it’s important to get my voice heard and to do whatever I can to improve the way others view this campus,” Cusano said.
As big as Greek life is on campus, Cusano noticed there was no representation of it on the SGA. Even with the campus and fundraiser events that Greek life actively participate in; Cusano, like most sorority and fraternity members,noticed the negative stereotype that come with joining these organizations.
“Greek life had no representation on the student government when I joined. Greek life on campus really does work towards great things. We do philanthropy and are working on showing ourselves more on campus,” Cusano said.
This past year, with the support of her sisters, Cusano chose to be the voice for all Greek life by joining the senate.
“I joined senate this year and I joined to help represent Greek life and to help break the stereotype that Greek life is all about partying,” Cusano said.
It with amongst the SGA that Cusano found another family and another group of brothers and sisters. She explained her inspiration to run for vice president was found amongst her peers.
“I know that it kind of sounds cheesy but if it wasn’t for senate I wouldn’t know my true strengths and abilities. I have grown so much since joining and I definitely owe a lot to senate along with Phi Sig. Phi Sig taught me how to feel a sense of belonging on campus and how it’s important to get my voice heard and to do whatever I can to improve the way others view this campus,” Cusano said.
As a commuter student she knows how important it is for all students to feel welcomed and to be involved.
“Not a lot of clubs know their liaison and that doesn’t sit right with me.I have noticed through being a liaison to clubs that communication between the SGA and clubs is strained,” Cussano said.
If elected, Cusano said she will make it a priority to bridge the divide between club officers and senators.
“We send emails out to the presidents occasionally but from my perspective it doesn’t seem to be the best way to communicate. Clubs need to be able to meet with their liaisons and feel comfortable talking to them and I don’t believe that clubs our comfortable coming to us. I want to change that. Clubs need to be able to communicate with us and feel comfortable coming to us for anything that they may need,” Cusano said.
Cusano credits her open minded mentality as key strength. She is actively searching to hear student concerns and to break any stereotype she comes across.
“I would describe my leadership style as participative. I value what others have to say about issues and I want others to voice their opinions on topics and feel like their voice is heard and I would be able to take those opinions and views and be able to make the decision that needs to be made,” Cusano said.
Cusano will graduate next year as a sociology major. She hopes to have a career in human resources in the near future. In her spare time she practices karate and plays softball. Cusano, has a lot of hope for the future of CCSU and for the future leaders of the senate. The once shy and timid student hopes to become a leader for all whether elected or not.
“I’ve wanted to run for a while and almost didn’t submit a packet but then I realized that I want this and I shouldn’t limit myself because of others. It’s important that everyone on campus knows that they all have the ability to be a leader. I want to be able to help encourage students to see their potential and to help them become leaders. When we graduate I want to be confident that I have done all that I could to make sure no one felt as though they couldn’t do something that they wanted,” Cusano said.