A Q and A with Senate President-Elect Mike Arel


Courtesy of Mike Arel

Current sophomore Mike Arel has been elected as the Student Body President for 2022-2023.

Q: What’s your major, minor, and core concentration?

A: My major is criminal justice. I have a minor in political science and my core concentration is political science.

Q: How does it feel to be elected President of Senate?

A: Well, there have been a lot of emotions with it. But one of the biggest things to know is there’s a lot of excitement with it, but it’s really good to make sure I keep that level head with it and make sure I remain calm. That’s why I don’t try and get too over joyous with it, but there’s a lot of excitement.

Q: Do you have any goals you’d like to achieve as President?

A: I do have a few goals and expectations I have set. I have an expectation that I will be making a primary focus towards improving communication with all student body members, transparency inside and outside of Student Senate, and then using those to work towards diversity, equity and inclusion. I have a bunch of goals and they are something that are going to be willing to adapt and change depending on dissenting opinions from senators, roadblocks faced by faculty members and administrators, and time constraints. A short term goal is going to be looking at how we can better communicate when it comes to organizations and making sure they’re put at the forefront as well as doing outreach to clubs. A long term goal is diversity, equity and inclusion. I want to make sure that those voices are still heard and see how we can better make our own Senate as well as the whole campus more inclusive.

Q: Could you tell me a bit about yourself?

A: I am a very procedural person in nature, which is why I’ve started to take roles such as being an RA on campus for North Campus Residence Hall, joining Student Senate, and with my classes in criminal justice and political science, there’s a lot of procedure to it. I also try and make sure I have time for fun, so another commitment I do is serving as President of Roger After Dark.

Q: Why did you want to become Senate President?

A: Originally, at first I didn’t want to run for Student Body President, but it was actually the motivation of some peers that really helped drive home why I wanted to run. A lot of people were saying, “Mike you should run for this position!” That became a very big motivating factor for why I wanted to run. Now that I had that motivation, I was able to look into what I want to change and noticed there was all those talks about a lack of communication and a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Q: For those who don’t know, what other positions did you hold on Senate and what did you do for each of them?

A: I’ve had three primary positions previously. The first position I had was General Senator, the second was Academic Affairs committee, and the third was Finance Committee. As a General Senator, that’s me trying to find my footing and seeing if it was really a place for me. It was mainly working on legislation such as bylaw bills and getting my feet wet. When I became Academic Affairs Chair, it was really trying to set the groundwork for moving forward and one of the primary things out of that committee was our Dessert with the Deans event. I ended up having that switchover to the Finance Committee because it was believed that I would be able to perform a bit better and what we’re doing there is communicating a lot with clubs who come in and allocate them funding.

Q: What made you want to join Senate?

A: I received an email via the Executive Board account saying they wanted to appoint someone for a position and I thought that would be the perfect way to actually get involved in the community and figure out what I want to do.

Q: What do you want to tell the RWU community as Senate President?

A: It’s always good to take a leap of faith. If there’s something you really want to achieve, try and go for it. If I’d told myself I would be student body president for Roger Williams University or even join Student Senate or any form of student body government, I would have told myself that, that would never happen. But those small decisions you can make can make a large impact and help define you as a person.

Q: How will you benefit the Student Senate?

A: I think one of the things I can be a benefit within Student Senate is it’s going to be that completely new face. Currently, with Student Senate, we’re having a lot of people who are going to be turning over, we’re going to have a lot of new people coming in, and I think that I have that vision that can help redefine what Senate is and try and make it into something very personable.

Q: What do you want to do for a career post-Roger?

A: That’s something I’m still trying to work into, it’s definitely going to be something in the criminal justice field. I was thinking of working in a form of intelligence for criminal justice or counterterrorism.

Q: What do you want to see change at the university during your time as Senate President?

A: I feel like there are a lot of things I’d like to change. I want to change that campus culture to make it so that it’s just all about oneself but it’s more of a community and we’re all in this together. I’ve noticed there has been quite a bit of tension and figuring out what that tension is, is something I’d like to find out. We have areas of tension such as with diversity, equity and inclusion and that’s something that definitely needs to be addressed on campus.