Welcome back or welcome to Adventures at Franklin. Seven years, 121 posts about life at Franklin University Switzerland (FUS), and yet there are very few mentions of the Student Government Association (SGA), but that changes today. SGA is one of the most important and active voices on campus. As per the FUS website, “SGA elected by the student body at large, assumes the duty of representing students’ needs and interests in all facets of University life, from academics to student engagement… SGA is responsible for providing students opportunities to develop and enhance their leadership abilities while promoting institutional improvement and innovation”.

In this post of Adventures at Franklin, it's wonderful to have the Executive Board for 2020-2021 share their stories by introducing themselves and providing some insight into the SGA.

Frida Terrazas Carrillo, President, Class of 2021.

“As president for the upcoming year, I see in the COVID-19 crisis a chance for us to come together as a family. Franklin as an institution has never lived through a similar situation and we have the opportunity to set an example for future generations. I plan to make the best out of the situation and try to make this transition as smooth as possible for the student body. The Executive Board and I have exciting plans for the upcoming year and we are excited for you to see what we have in store!”

From: Durango, Mexico

FUS major(s)/minor(s): International Relations, minor in French

Interests?

I love languages and having the opportunity (and the privilege) of communicating with people in their mother tongue. I love that no matter how bad you are in any language, any native speaker of that said language will appreciate you talking to them and trying your best to make them feel at home. Especially in a community as diverse as Franklin, I love to learn a few phrases in different languages. Another one of my interests would be travel, but I guess if we are at Franklin, we all share that in one way or another. I have started journaling more with quarantine, and I enjoy all types of podcasts too.

Ideal meal?

My ideal meal consists of tacos dorados, which are fried tacos, and are also called flautas or flutes because they are fried in that shape and are just delicious and crunchy. It has been a meal that my grandma has perfected and has made for me all my life. I love them with salsa verde or anything spicy on top. They are served with lettuce and tomato on top, to try tricking people into thinking this is somewhat healthy but as they say back home, full belly, full heart (“panza llena, corazón contento”).

Why come to FUS?

I decided to stay in Europe but study in a university that offered an American model. Academic Travel was the cherry on top, plus the fact that Switzerland is in the middle of Europe, allowing me to continue with my passion to travel, as you can easily access neighboring countries.

Favorite memories at FUS so far?

I have answered this question a few times over the summer as we prepare content for incoming and returning students and I have found that my mind drifts to different memories with a similar theme. I am a very family-oriented person and so my favorite memories at Franklin are the moments where I really feel at home, whenever I feel that sense of cohesiveness within the community. I have friends that have become family so an example of that would be the weekly dinners that I used to have with a group of friends last semester, where we would all try to make it despite our schedules or how much homework we had in order to catch up and spend some quality time. Another memory would be karaoke nights on the Academic Travel to Vienna with Prof. Bucher.

Favorite class at FUS so far?

My favorite class has been POL204: Politics of Latin America with Prof. Cordón because it opened my eyes to all the history and culture in the region. I loved how, even though I was already somewhat knowledgeable about the politics of my own country, I understood why things worked now the way they do and how it is all influenced by our colonial history. It was interesting to study the pattern that all countries in Latin America underwent at the same time. Prof. Cordón also included regional music, references and cultural material that made me appreciate my community so much more.

How did you get involved with SGA?

I started by getting involved my freshman year. I was working with the Programming Committee and helping organize events. My second year I became Head of Programming and started with my role by organizing Holi, which was a stressful but enriching experience and definitely marked the start of a good year as vice-president.

What do you want to get out of the experience? (i.e. personal goals and hopes)

Something I hope to get out of the Presidential role is to work on my leadership skills and gain more confidence. It is a learning experience (especially now with COVID-19) but I am confident in our community and our ability to adapt. I hope we can all sacrifice 10 days of quarantine for a semester of fun.

Additional Remarks:

I would highly encourage everyone to join, no matter your interests, passions, majors, etc because it is a nice way for you to integrate yourself into the community and have a say in what gets done at Franklin University Switzerland.

Spencer Landry, Vice-president/Head of Programming, Class of 2023.

“As the Vice President, I plan to get to know as many students as I can during the upcoming year, and interact with them as much as possible. I plan to work closely with the SGA Executive Board to ensure that all students have a safe, and most importantly fun year! As Head of Programming, I plan on organizing events, so students can get to know each other. I hope that, even though our environment has changed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, that I will be able to help facilitate as many events as possible to unite our wonderful university and to show everyone that we are Franklin!”

From: Commerce Township, Michigan, USA

FUS major(s)/minor(s): Double Major in History and Political Science and Minors in Germanic Studies and Italian

Interests?

In my free time I really like cooking and baking for my friends. I also like reading on my balcony and studying foreign languages. My goal is to learn the foundations and basics of a new language every year.

Ideal meal?

I really like comfort food and food from where I live in the US (the Midwest). To me, the best meal is tater tot casserole with some mac and cheese, along with Vernor's to drink (ginger ale, but much much better than ginger ale) and Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream.

Why come to FUS?

By the end of my junior year of high school, I knew that I wanted to study International relations or political science. Because of this, I knew that I also wanted to study outside of the United States, because in my opinion, there is a very Americanized view of the world (one that emphasizes the importance of the US). I ultimately chose Franklin because it was the school that would expose me most to foreign beliefs, customs and ideas in all areas of life.

Favorite memories at FUS so far?

I have two great memories of Franklin that have really stuck with me. The first memory would be my first Academic Travel class to Poland. It exposed me to another culture, different foods, a different language, and allowed me to expand my knowledge in a topic that I had learned about before. The second memory that is still somewhat ongoing is the COVID-19 pandemic. I know it sounds a little weird, but because of the pandemic, all of the students at Franklin came together like one big family and supported each other through it all. I was able to get closer with some of my friends, spend more time relaxing, and most of all, I was able to fully embrace living in Lugano and having it become my home.

Favorite class at FUS so far?

The best class that I have taken would have to be the first Academic Travel class that I had. It was called “Inventing the Past: The Uses of Memory” taught by Professor Wiedmer. The class explored how the Holocaust is remembered and taught about today, with specific emphasis on Poland, which is where our travel took place. One of the most unique aspects to me was the discussion of this idea of “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”, or the coming to terms with one’s past. It was an incredible, life changing experience and I would heavily recommend it to everyone!

How did you get involved with SGA?

As an incoming freshman, I wanted to get involved with the school in as many ways as possible. I showed up at the first SGA meeting and chose to help out with the programming committee. This year I was elected to be the Vice President and Head of Programming and I am very excited for everything that is to come this year!

What do you want to get out of the experience? (i.e. personal goals and hopes)

This year my goal is to provide as normal and as fun an experience to all students as possible with all of the events that happen throughout the year, despite the limitations and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Remarks:

SGA is a great way to get involved with the university and a great way to make friends too! I would heavily recommend that everyone at least give it a shot when they come to Franklin. There’s a club and a committee for everyone!

Benedetto Santoboni, Head of Public Relations (PR), Class of 2021.

“As head of PR, I am planning on rebooting the system due to Covid-19 and push forward into building a new era at Franklin. I will do my best to organize and plan activities which will enrich life at FUS and its environment. The bond between faculty member will be stronger and more meaningful, making the Franklin community more united!”

From: Italy/Switzerland

FUS major(s)/minor(s): Communication and Media Studies with a Minor in Art History and Psychology

Interests? Sports, socializing

Ideal meal? Pizza

Why come to FUS?

Location, academic options, AT, American system, its international environment.

Favorite memories at FUS so far?

Academic travel as I found it amazing and interesting traveling with my class to a specific location and learn from each other/ learn about the place together in a fun way.

Favorite class at FUS so far?

Criminology and psychopathology

How did you get involved with SGA?

I love being active at FUS and once a spot opened up which would allow me to make a difference, I immediately went for it.

What do you want to get out of the experience? (i.e. personal goals and hopes)

I want to be able to learn from my mistakes, learn from this position I am in, and I hope to make a difference at FUS.

Jonathan Bystrowski, Head of Finance, Class of 2022.

Given the circumstances of this upcoming school year, as the treasurer of student government, I think that it will be testing yet a fun challenge to manage the budget. It is likely that due to the epidemic we may not have as many resources as we have had in the past but I think regardless we will be able to make the most of our finances and time. I am looking forward to the annual events that student government hosts that make the year fun, and all the other great activities that are going to put on throughout the year. I am also very excited to be able to fund some of the sports associations that are growing on campus such as the Basketball and Futsal team. It is also going to be amazing to see the events that all of our spectacular clubs on campus put together such as the cultural nights and stimulating discussions put on by our Political Discourse Society. Regardless of the challenges ahead of us, as your Head of Finance, I am going to work to the best of my ability to give the students the best experience possible.

From: Granby, Connecticut, United States of America

FUS major(s)/minor(s): Social Justice and Sustainability Major and Business Management Minor

Interests?

Basketball and other outdoor activities such as skiing and scuba diving

Ideal meal?

My ideal meal would be a perfect pot of fondue shared with a bunch of friends

Why come to FUS?

I choose to come to FUS for the chance to live in the heart of Europe and travel all over the world while getting a world class education!

Favorite memories at FUS so far?

Being with great groups of friends and traveling, For example for academic travel.

Favorite class at FUS so far?

European food system with Dean SSB or Intro to International Relations with Professor Bucher. I liked the intro to international relations because it really changed the way that I look at the world that I live in.

How did you get involved with SGA?

I was a board member my freshmen and sophomore year and this year I decided to get a little more involved and become treasurer

What do you want to get out of the experience? (i.e. personal goals and hopes)

Make Franklin a more fun and comfortable place for everybody

Carisa Villela, Head of Community Development and Initiatives Committee (CDIC), Class of 2021.

“For the CDIC committee, the most important event we will continue to organize is the “Meet the Neighbors” event, as it is a legacy that Daniela Baiardi left. It is especially important to continue this sort of event, because its goal is to establish and maintain a good relationship with the commune of Sorengo, and especially after our recent fallouts with the community during the COVID lockdown, we need to build back that trust and a good reputation. Overall, the goal is to improve our relationship with the wider Sorengo and Lugano communities, promote student involvement with the locals and other students from the neighboring universities, and in this way, nurture a sense of belonging and pride in Franklin and the community we are a part of.”

From: Moreno Valley, California, USA (Mexican heritage)

FUS major(s)/minor(s): Literature; Media Production and Publishing Minor

Interests?

Cooking new foods, learning about other religions and cultures, creating and leading projects

Ideal meal?

My ideal meal would start off with a salad (lettuce, tomato, avocado, grated carrots, pieces of ham, craisins, lemon juice), followed by my mom’s “tostadas de tinga”, and to finish, my late grandmother’s “torrejas”.

Why come to FUS?

I always wanted to experience what it was like to live in a different country and a different culture, so although my coming to Franklin was random and unexpected, it presented the perfect opportunity to do just that!

Favorite memories at FUS so far?

I have definitely made a lot of (crazy/interesting) memories here, but a recent, favorite one would be watching the city go to sleep and wake up again by the lake with a friend as we talked and talked for hours all night – it was an amazing bonding experience and we learned so much about each other!

Favorite class at FUS so far?

I have taken many amazing, insightful classes, but I think my favorite would have to be Professor Peat’s LIT 255T Scotland: Story and Song travel class. We learned a bit about the history of Scotland, but especially the traits that have been used for its brand and national identity. We got to study a lot of song lyrics and poetry, and the travel portion was incomparable to any other class I’ve taken – we met a musician with whom we sang on the bus, we visited museums and an embroidery exhibit – and we even got to tour the BBC in Glasgow!

How did you get involved with SGA?

I was involved in ASB (similar student government organization) throughout high school, so I naturally sought out a similar experience upon coming to Franklin, and immediately signed up during the Fall “club rush” my freshman year. I started out by helping organize small events within the programming committee, and in my second year, I switched into the CDIC committee to help organize events in which our students could interact more with the locals and integrate themselves more into the Luganese community. It is within this committee that I will continue this year.

What do you want to get out of the experience? (i.e. personal goals and hopes)

My personal goal is to lead more initiatives within this committee and create - and establish - better relationships with other local and national student groups.

Additional Remarks:

Although this past semester has been crazy and disorienting for many of us, I hope we can make this a better year, and know that your opinions and ideas are welcome and encouraged. Please come every once-in-a-while to our meetings every Wednesday at 7 pm / 19:00 in the LAC conference room so you can be more informed about what is happening on campus, both in terms of student life and decisions being made that will affect our academics and institution. Attending these meetings is also a great way to become aware of opportunities or ways you can be more involved on campus, so I hope to see you there!


I want to conclude this post with one of the final things I asked each member of the Executive Board about: describe SGA’s role in 1 sentence.

Frida: Here to represent students' needs and interests in the best way we possibly can.

Spencer: The role of the Student Government is to be the voice of the student body at large, and to support it, strengthen it, and assist it in any way possible. They create a more sociable and entertaining environment for the students in such ways to enrich students experience at the university.

Jonathan: To adequately represent and help the student body at Franklin to have the experience that they want.

Carisa: The role of SGA is to be the bridge between the student body and the school’s administration - in a more practical sense - and although our school is very small, it is not hard at all for a student’s concerns or ideas to be heard, but SGA serves as the tool with which students can be directly involved in the planning and execution of student-led activities, such as holiday parties, the annual yacht party, or even networking events with the locals.

 

The start of the semester is right around the corner. Good luck and safe travels to Lugano! We are all excited to meet you, or to see you again (after quarantine if needed)! Take care.

Check out all the stories on the Adventures at Franklin blog.