‘The bridge’ continues to be built day by day, and with that, progress. It may not be a tangible, concrete bridge – but it most certainly is real.
This bridge, of course, symbolizes the gap between the students and administration at Springfield College. A gap that the president of the senior class, Ari Susi, is determined to close during her final year on Alden Street.
“I started this ‘build the bridge’ thing, about making that bridge between the students and administration,” Susi began. “I’ve really ran with it and it’s only been a month. I’m really excited to continue it and see the difference by the end of the year. I’ve met so many amazing people, and they’re all doing such great things.”
Leadership is nothing new to Susi. The senior has been the president of the class of 2022 all four of her years at Springfield, along with her being class president all throughout her high school days as well. Her success as a leader is no surprise – not only because of her experience, but also because she is able to look at leadership through a creative, refreshing, and inclusive lens.
“Something that I think is really important with leadership is that you aren’t just telling people what to do. Leadership is doing it with the group, and helping the group, it’s not just throwing it at everyone else to do,” Susi declared.
Her father, Anthony, reigns as the person who Susi credits for pushing her to get involved on campus from day one. Anthony was able to seek out and introduce his daughter to a couple of different student leaders, Bobby Bordieri and Stephen Backman, during move-in day Ari’s freshman year.
“My first day on campus, I was moving in, and my dad was like, ‘Come here, come here,’” recalled Susi.
“That’s when he introduced me to Bobby and Stephen, they were presidents for their classes. My dad told me they were going to take care of me, so I just said, ‘Okay.’ And they did. They never failed me, and I wouldn’t be half the leader I am without them.”
Since then, Susi has not only become her class president, she has also dived into the role as president of the Springfield College Student Government Association, along with being a New Student Orientation leader. She embraces so many positions of power with a fiery passion that is impossible to overlook, doing so with nothing but a positive attitude.
“I think my passion comes from the fact that I like to be somebody that people can come to with their problems,” she said. “I want to be able to help. I have this mindset where I say you can’t complain unless you are actively trying to fix a problem.
“If you aren’t trying to get involved, you’re not helping the case by complaining. That’s why I’ve gotten so involved with as much as I can, because if something’s not getting done then that’s on me.”
Stacey, Ari’s mother, has been as solid as a rock for her, consistently supporting every decision Ari has made without exception.
“My mom has always been super supportive of everything I do and always pushed me to help others,” Susi added. “I truly can’t thank my parents enough.”
Susi, who majors in psychology, plans to team up with Minds in Motion – a club at Springfield College who targets the importance of mental health – for an event, highlighted by a guest speaker, featuring all things mental health.
Other future plans for Susi include another SEAT at the Table event – a conference of educational experiences dedicated to deconstructing oppressive systems, which was introduced last year and had great success – along with a plethora of community service opportunities, and the continued construction of her coveted bridge.
On that day of her freshman year move-in, Susi had no idea how strong of a staple Bordieri and Backman would act as for her. The support from them, along with Annie Warchol (Director of Student Activities and Campus Union), is exactly what Susi needed to start her off on the right foot. She has not looked back since.
Susi’s bridge still requires more work before it can be called a finished project – she will be the first to tell you that – but she is off to an undeniably swift start in her different roles as a student leader at Springfield College.