Name: Ben Feola
Hometown: Woodbridge, CT
Trinity Tripod: What previous experiences have you had within SGA? What projects have you been a critical part of?
Ben Feola: I was a member of the Honorands Committee (the organization which chooses honorary degree recipients for Commencement). It was an opportunity where I was able to represent our school and it was an enlightening experience.
TT: What experiences outside SGA have shaped your time at Trinity and your ability to lead?
BF: Being an athlete (football for first two years, as well as track) has very much shaped who I am and how I approach different problems in my own life. Being an athlete does change your perspective and experiences here as a student. Athletes are a huge percentage of the student body here, and I would like to be a voice for them. We do have athletes on SGA, but we need more representation given how big our percentage is in the student body. Trinity does put a lot of weight onto our sports teams, whether it is squash, baseball, or hockey. Additionally, I have served as the president of Alpha Chi Rho (Crow). Greek life is fundamental to our identity here; we are one of the few NESCAC schools to offer it. Greek life is definitely a positive part of the Trinity experience here, and we’re doing well in terms of giving back to the community and student body.
TT: What would you seek to accomplish in this position?
BF: Firstly, there needs to be a fundamental structural change of SGA. We need to be a more cohesive group. SGA is obviously composed of intelligent people, but we lack the cohesion to make it a more productive organization. There are also the issues everyone says. For example, Chartwells needs to offer more flexible meal plans and more food options. We should improve sustainability to match our peer schools. However, there are issues that go beyond that. It is sometimes easy to forget that we go to one of the most expensive schools in the country, and that students are paying upwards of $70,000 a year to go here. Additionally, it’s also the smaller problems, like getting the shuttle tracker to work correctly and improving facilities for the gym. Barnyard also must be structurally changed. They have made mistakes with artists twice in three years. As a member of SGA, I hardly understand how the organization works and this is a major problem. SGA has to be able to communicate quicker and more effectively.
TT: What parts of your electoral platform and/or personality sets you apart from your opponents?
BF: My Trinity College experience has been typical and representative of what the average student here is. Sometimes people on SGA, as productive and intelligent as they are, are somewhat separated from what the student body really is. Our exclusivity doesn’t provide an accurate portrayal of our student body. I am somewhat of an outsider on SGA, as I only joined this past year. It’s not easy for athletes to come out and be represented. There are sports that are truly not represented, such as football. I think I am very representative of a typical student here, in that I’ve done many different things and participated in many experiences. Every year, I try to make the most of my time at Trinity, and get the full value out of it.
TT: If you can only accomplish one of your objectives, which one would you choose and why?
BF: If I could only accomplish one, I think it would be to change the structure of SGA. The power we are given is evident. However, in meetings, people are strangers to one another. There is not enough discourse amongst each other, because the once a week time commitment is not enough. We need more meetings and communication beyond a groupme. Taking this with my experience on an athletic team, there are ways to make a more cohesive group. It is difficult for any organization to be well known and understood when it meets once a week at 5 p.m. on Sundays.