Gianna Lorusso: the de facto next president of SGA
BY News Editor
This week, students will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives in the Student Government Association (SGA) next semester. One position will be conspicuously absent from the ballot: the presidency. Barring any other candidate throwing their hat into the ring at this late stage of the process, the president of SGA next academic year will be Gianna Lorusso.
Lorusso, a junior double major in operations management and management with a minor in business analytics, is the only candidate running for president of SGA. She wants to continue the work being done by current President Kevin Peterson and his Executive Cabinet.
“We’ve been working on improving communication between students and administrators,” Lorusso said. “That can go further when I’m president. I also want to continue our mental health initiatives and fight sexual assault on campus with policy.”
To improve communication with the administration, Lorusso and the Executive Cabinet began meeting directly with university President Dennis Assanis. As a result of student feedback in their fall survey, the Executive Cabinet proposed to Assanis that more seating space be created in the Morris Library. Additionally, they were able to change the busing routes to be shorter and supposedly more convenient.
Lorusso began her career in SGA during her freshman year on campus as a Student Affairs Senator and won reelection to that position as a sophomore. As a senator, she created a student resource database for SGA’s website.
“During that time, I was kinda young, ambitious, just wanted to get my feet wet in government,” Lorusso said. “The student database was a fun thing to work on with all my other colleagues and senators. It was, I compiled a bunch of resources, links and other things from the library or different colleges for students on our website, which is called UDecide, because I was commonly hearing from students that it was difficult to find that sort of thing when applying for jobs or internships.”
Most recently, Lorusso served as the Chief Justice in the Executive Cabinet, where she oversaw SGA’s Judiciary.
“What I do right now as Chief Justice is I oversee the Judicial Branch of the SGA and make sure legislation works within our constitution,” Lorusso said. “Most recently, I worked with the bylaws to change our election process so that now, in the Spring we appoint our Academic Affairs senators and the Student Affairs Senators are elected in the fall. It used to be reversed. The advantage to the new system is that, now, Academic Affairs Senators have time to receive mentoring from the outgoing ones. That was my biggest accomplishment as the Chief Justice.”
Lorusso said she felt that her experience in the Executive Cabinet is what gave her the confidence to shoot for the presidency.
“Currently, I’m the only junior in the Cabinet,” Lorusso said. “Having that gives me experience that most other SGA members won’t get. The past two presidents, Natalie and Kevin, have been amazing role models, mentors, and I’ve always looked up to them. Watching them and what they did, I began to see myself as that kind of leader. I feel now that I’m ready to step up.”
As Chief Justice, she successfully lobbied the the Office of Student Conduct to allow seniors to release portions of their disciplinary records when applying to graduate schools and withhold details of minor infractions committed over a year ago. Previously, any student found responsible for violating the university’s Code of Conduct would have been required to fully disclose all details of their record with the university, potential employers and prospective graduate schools.
She began shadowing Peterson this past year at various executive meetings and committees to get a feel for what his job is like.
“Being on the Executive Cabinet has been so much great experience for me, and that’s why I feel very prepared to be the next president,” Lorusso said. “There was never an understanding with [Peterson] that I’d succeed him. Once I decided to run, though, he was very supportive of me. He’d always point out that he really liked what I was doing for SGA.”
As Chief Justice, Lorusso reached out to Delaware State Legislators to craft legislation governing sexual consent between adults. Specifically, she lobbied to add “affirmative consent” language into state policy. This would mean sex could only be considered consensual if explicit approval was given, not merely implied, by each person involved.
Lorusso said she was almost disappointed that no other candidates for president appeared. As a consequence, the SGA bylaws would not allow Lorusso to form a party and consolidate more support from other members.
“I suppose it shows that they respect my experience and want me to have the position, but I also worry a little that this is because SGA isn’t well known enough on campus,” Lorusso said. “We tried opening up our communication on social media and whatnot this year. We started livestreaming our meetings. I guess the problem is that we never get to show all our work to the students.”