The other day, I was invited to attend a weekly meeting with Parsons Student Sentate by some of my friends who are part of the organization’s Executive Committee. Parsons Student Senate (or PSS for short) is a student-run organization that works to improve our school and our community. Think of it like your high school’s student government. But they’re goal is not only to enhance our experience on-campus, they’re also working to improve the surrounding community through various outreach programs. As PSS Creative Director Wade Howard told me, “Our main goal is to further the legacy of Parsons as an amazing design school with a great student body, but also to reach outside the community and show that we are designers, artists, and business students who care.” Now in it’s seventh academic year, PSS serves as the liaison between the student body and our administration. The members of PSS represent us in various functions, and they’re the ones who are voicing our concerns to the big guys at Parsons.
Just last week, they held a Town Hall Meeting along with their buddies at the University Student Senate that was met with great success! Students were invited to engage in a conversation with Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons, as well as Joe Hosking, Senior Director of Student Affairs. Though PSS functions independently from the University Student Senate (USS), it’s pretty great to see the two organizations collaborate to determine ways to not only improve Parsons, but also The New School as a whole. PSS frequently checks in with Jens Astrup, the Parsons representative of USS, and the organization is also looking to team up with the Eugene Lang Student Senate for future events and community outreach programs as well. The diversity at The New School is quite apparent as soon as you step foot on campus—you see artists, musicians, writers, and every type of scholar in between. With such an assortment of interests and talents paired with the busy New York City lifestyle, it’s sometimes difficult to feel a great sense of New School community. But along with improving our school’s services, these organizations seek to connect our students and bring us all closer together.
Parsons Student Senate, in particular, plans a myriad of events to promote a greater sense of community within our school. Their first event of the semester, for example, was an Ice Cream Social. Held on a Wednesday during the middle of the afternoon, it was a great way to make some new friends and unwind from the stress of school. Vice President Russell Howe was definitely excited with the results, telling me that they “had a huge turnout for that, and we were able to see how students were very grateful to have the opportunity to mingle and take a break from school.” Who doesn’t love some free ice cream on Hump Day? Count me in!!! As they look ahead to the future, they’re beginning to plan some more fun events for our school and the surrounding community. They’re planning to hold a community outreach event by the end of the semester, and I heard them discussing some pretty awesome volunteering opportunities which included working with children on art projects. Another event, which I’m pretty stoked about, is the possibility of bringing back The Parsons Gala in the spring—an end-of-term black tie event for students, faculty, and alumni. Get your fancy dresses and tuxedos ready folks, sounds like it’ll be a good time!
Right now, the Executive Committee consists of President Prithika Madhavan, Vice President Russell Howe, Creative Directors Ginny McNulty and Wade Howard, and Treasurer Michelle Lam. They’re always looking for new members to join the PSS team, so if you think you might be interested, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They meet every Wednesday at 3pm at 66 5th Ave, Room 204.