SGA vice president of internal affairs discusses her success, future of SGA

Published by , Author: Joshua Kellem - Rocket Contributor, Date: March 21, 2017
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Sarah Arpino, vice president of internal affairs and senior PR major, is the glue in SGA that keeps everything together behind the scenes.

“So, my position as VP of internal affairs is exactly what that is: I work on all things internally with SGA,” Arpino said.  “I plan all of our bonding events, I do all new-member orientation and I lead our semester retreats at the beginning of the fall and the spring semesters to orient our senators.”

Arpino said she helps with formulating goals for the semester, as well as running a mentoring program she implemented herself where experienced senate members are assigned a mentee to guide.

“I also take our formal minutes at our meetings, and then those are documented,” Arpino said.

A PR major with dance and leadership minors, Arpino has forged a connection between her SGA position and her academic endeavors.

“Well, as far as PR goes, I really like building relationships, building reputations, being able to communicate with people and getting others involved,” Arpino said. “So, as far as internal affairs, I think it really works hand-in-hand with public relations.”

Over the years, Arpino has occupied many roles for SGA.

“Yes, last year, I was the speaker of the senate,” Arpino said.  “And, then, in the past, I’ve been the Building B senator my freshman year.”

Arpino explained that, during her sophomore year, she and her roommate both wanted to run for Building B senator, and there could only be one, so she became a First-Year Leader Scholar Program (FLSP) mentor while her roommate took the senator spot. While in FLSP, Arpino remained active on the outreach and internal committees but didn’t have a voting right.

“I know my second year we revamped the FLSP program a lot, so that was really cool to be part of the process and see where we wanted to take it,” Arpino said.

Once a program that allowed approximately 50 students in back in the ’80s, Arpino cites revamping FLSP as her greatest accomplishment, with enrollment around 400 this year.

“We’re allowing everyone that opportunity to say, ‘hey, I want to learn leadership skills, I want to get involved, please help guide me to that,'” Arpino said.

In addition to being a FLSP mentor and serving on two committees, Arpino was appointed to the just-established SGA Board of Directors committee during her sophomore year.

“So, this Board of Directors is comprised of different alumni, people from the alumni association and the foundation,” Arpino said.  “There’s a faculty member on it, and then whoever serves as the current president. Vice president of finance also serves on it. Then, we have two student reps and I was appointed to be one of the student reps on that Board of Directors, which I still serve on today.”

A new concept at the time, Arpino said the committee focused first on establishing what their responsibilities would be. Over time, Arpino said the responsibilities were ironed out to be internal things: overseeing employees at the bookstore and childcare center, approving raises for salaries, job descriptions and the overall budget.

“They’re not here to tell us what to do, they’re just here as more experienced professionals in the world to guide us through those really big decisions,” Arpino said.

After two years, and an impending graduation, Arpino will look for her successor on the committee in the coming months.

“I’ll be stepping down in May so we have to recruit a new student representative to serve for a two-year position, and that student does not have to be a current member on SGA, they do not have to serve,” Arpino said.

Applications for the position should be on the website in March, Arpino said.

“Once we go through the application process, the student applicants come up on a formal meeting in front of the senate and explain themselves so we get to know them,” Arpino said.

Formerly a member of UPB, the Rotaract Club and Jam Rock, in her senior year, SGA is the only club Arpino is involved with.

“I’ve been involved since my freshman year and it’s always been the organization that’s taken priority over all the rest of them,” Arpino said.  “So, that’s why I decided senior year, since I was going to be an executive board position, I would just focus on student government.”

With her executive board position, Arpino is appointed a committee.

“We try to do one fundraising event a month,” Arpino said.

Most recently, Arpino’s committee planned the SGA Valentine’s Day sale. Later this semester, Arpino has a few other events up her sleeve.

“We’re going to have Pie-A-Professor the Thursday before finals week outside on the Rocky’s concourse,” Arpino said.  “Every year, too, there’s Spring Fling.”

Because she switched majors, Arpino’s last semester will be this upcoming fall, but her time as an e-board member ends this semester.

“My lasting impact is that I never stopped caring and I just always wanted to make sure that there was an inclusive atmosphere, that everyone felt welcomed,” Arpino said

While uncertain on the PR route she wants to take, Arpino will be interning on a Carnival cruise ship this summer. Arpino said, ultimately, she feels SGA has prepared her for the workforce either way.

“It’s not just about the person with the best IQ or who came from this Ivy League school,” Arpino said. “It’s about really knowing how to have those interpersonal communications and not just emailing back and forth.”

Originally from Altoona, Pa., Arpino cites her best friend’s sister and two next door neighbors all attending Slippery Rock as what influenced her to come to this university.

“Yes, I definitely think I made the right decision,” Arpino said.

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