Keshara Senanayake

Keshara Senanayake (VP of Public Relations)

Keshara Senanayake (VP of Public Relations)

Name: Keshara Senanayake

Year: 2018

Major: Sociology and Psychology

Running for: VP of Public Relations

In what specific ways do you think USG could use better PR?
The Undergraduate Student Government could better use PR to increase outreach to disconnected, apathetic, and under-served students. We have to engage our constituency in order to figure out how we can best represent them. Through student feedback and input can refine the initiatives we take on to tackle the problems our constituency cares about. USG, and the pressing issues our university faces, needs to become more relevant to students — something within the realm of PR. At CWRU we become inundated with school, work, and life to the point in which that important campus issues like admission changes or the tobacco-free policy might not seem as pressing compared to the other things going on in our lives. However, I firmly believe that PR could be used as the tool needed to create the open and honest dialogue on our campus that can get more people involved with USG.

Are USG hosted events, forums, and general assembly meetings well-attended, in your opinion? What do you think goes into making them either well attended or poorly attended?
USG hosted events (such open forums and general assembly) tends to garner a lackluster attendance mainly because students have become so apathetic to what our organization does, and feel disconnected with us on a whole. Additionally, students have time constraints in scheduling preventing them from getting involved with the things we do. Because of these issues USG needs to have a more concerted effort to reach out to students, and it is critical that we work towards bringing down the current high barriers of entry that we have. When we have events, such as open forums, we should be aware of other things happening on this campus such as exams. Also I believe we can expand our current modes of PR’ing by working to have a more active presence on social media. By being cognizant of these issues we can move towards increasing our attendance in the long run.

What do you plan on doing to increase attendance at USG events and general assembly meetings?
If we want to increase attendance at USG events we need to tackle the root of the problem — student apathy. By being the VP for Public Relations I want to re-brand USG as an organization that is there for student when they need it, making us more relevant in their own lives. We need to galvanize students by showing them how much we do care, and the great work that our representatives do daily. By creating an open dialogue and facilitating discussion between students and administration we can demonstrate how our organization does matter, and how together we can make the necessary changes our campus needs.
More specifically I want to push for increased collaboration between other campus organizations (whether it be SEC orgs like COC/RHA, administrative departments like the Res Staff, or even Greek life). By working together we can increase our reach, and get our respective organizations more exposure. Being part of the Class Officer Collective as the President for the Class of 2018 I have direct access over the Class of 2018, 2019, and 2020 groups — a community of over 3,000 students, a resource I will surely utilize. Additionally, I hope to test an array of new PR’ing methods primarily oriented around social media, and restructuring how reps interact with students. (i.e System where representatives might hold “office hours” in the nursing/weatherhead buildings to increased contact between students and USG)