Tatiana Sosa, a 21-year-old rising Winthrop University senior from Clover, will serve as chair of the school's Council of Student Leaders for 2008-2009.
As head of the 37-member group, she'll represent students at board of trustee meetings, lead weekly group discussions, plan retreats and meet with President Anthony DiGiorgio.
Sosa transferred to Winthrop from Coastal Carolina University as a sophomore. She's studying psychology and plans to go to law school in the Northeast. Sosa answered questions via e-mail about her new role at the university. Following are excerpts:
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Q. What do you hope to accomplish while in office?
A. I want to see our organization grow and continue the efforts to provide a better campus and community for all of us. I hope to accomplish this by using what I call the three C's:
Improving communication -- I would like to bridge the gap between faculty and students. It would allow us to better understand their positions and roles on our campus, as well as the opportunity for them to learn of ours.
Create a more inclusive community -- I would like to make the council more approachable to the student body, clubs and faculty -- to create a welcoming atmosphere so they do not feel intimidated to come to meetings and voice their opinions. I would like to see them work with us to establish organizations, change policies and make Winthrop opportunities more accessible to those who do not know they are there.
Ongoing committee commitment -- I want to keep the momentum going, so that last year's goals are not lost. We set these goals at the beginning of the year, and we must continue to strive to complete them, regardless of who is in office.
Q. Winthrop has been working to get students more involved with university activities and keep them in town during weekends. Is this an effort you plan to take part in? If so, how?
A. As Winthrop continues to grow and improve, I feel that the community around us is growing and improving. As it does, students will find new and exciting things that will make them choose to stay on campus or become more involved. I hope that CSL will join other clubs and organizations on campus that have the same goal, so we can work together and have more of an impact.
Q. What are key student issues that people should be aware of?
A. Many students feel that we do not have enough things for college students to do in Rock Hill. Most have to drive 30 minutes to Charlotte to go to their favorite restaurant, to shop at their favorite stores or just go out on a weekend. I feel that this is an issue that is already improving as the university continues to grow, but as new businesses begin to come up, I hope that they take into consideration what Winthrop students would like to see.
Q. What are Winthrop's strengths?
A. The drive to make the university the best that it can be regarding education and technology, while maintaining a welcoming atmosphere. Here, we are all faces with names, not just numbers. People wave and smile when you walk through campus; it feels like you never left home. It has a small-town feel, with the big-city drive to be the best.
Q. What are Winthrop's weaknesses?
A. We have parking issues. We do have parking, but it's not close enough to campus buildings ... Most of us have to park on the other side of Oakland and walk across. I don't think there's that many buildings for us to live in, for people who want to live off campus. You have to literally rent a house if you want to walk to campus.