On September 27, RIT’s Student Government (SG) selected its Freshman Senator, Jill Petersen. As the Freshman Senator, Peterson will be representing the freshman class on all issues that come before the senate, as well as working for the freshman class on individual projects and issues.

Peterson is a first year CIAS student. Unlike most incoming freshmen, Peterson has extensive college experience, which she believes will aid her in representing her class. Peterson entered RIT with 60 credits because she was part of a program that allowed her to take the last two years of her high school classes at the University of North Texas. “If you attend the University of North Texas [for this program], you will live in a dorm,” explained the senator. This gives Peterson prior experience in college life and a better understanding of how to help her class.

While Peterson is no stranger to student leadership, having served in student government in her high school, she explained that she is looking forward to being able to have real impact at RIT. Peterson stated that, while her experience was valuable, it felt very limited compared to the opportunities for change at RIT. In her own words, Peterson said, “Here, it seems like Student Government is really an active part of the community, and they really try to help make a difference. That’s really just what I want to do. I want to work on solving problems that RIT has.”

Peterson has already decided to take action on a few items, including improving kitchen access in the dorms. She is currently focusing on reaching out to her class to find out what is most important to them. Peterson said that while she has ideas for ways to improve RIT, listening to her class is the best way for her to prioritize what to do first. Peterson also expressed that she wants to branch out and represent as much of the class as possible. “I try to go to, and be a part of, different clubs and organizations,” said Peterson. “I try not to stay within CIAS, which is my major.”

Peterson has many interests outside of SG. While her primary interest is design, she enjoys other forms of art as well, including playing the ukulele. Most of all, she is passionate about the RIT community. “I’m really passionate about my friends and the people I meet here, because ultimately where you get your best ideas from is just the suggestions from [those people],” stated Peterson.

While you’re out and about, you may see Peterson on the roof of Frank Gannett Hall, where she likes to relax, or at Java Wally’s. “I really love going to coffee shops, especially I love Java Wally’s. It reminds me of a coffee shop back home that I always went to.”

Student Government holds Senate meetings every Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. These are open to the public and interested students are encouraged to attend to talk to the senate, including Peterson. Freshmen students can also look forward to the survey that their Freshman Senator is preparing, and the meet and greet session that she has also been planning. Peterson explained that she believes that the voice of the freshman class is very valuable, and she would like to hear suggestions from anyone that she represents.