Student Association

Tyler Rossi has learned to adapt his entire life. Now, he’s looking to adapt again by becoming SA’s president.

Ally Moreo | Photo Editor

Tyler Rossi is running for president of Syracuse University’s Student Association despite having no experience within the organization.

Editor’s note: With Student Association elections occurring this week, The Daily Orange is profiling the two candidates for SA president through Tuesday.

Tyler Rossi trained in a football program for years, but it wasn’t until he joined the varsity team in high school that the coach realized his defensive lineman only had one hand.

Rossi learned to adapt — pushing through training and emerging as a leader despite not starting on the field.

Now Rossi hopes to adapt again. He is running for president of Syracuse University’s Student Association despite having no experience within the organization, along with vice presidential candidate and fellow Martin J. Whitman School of Management student Roy Tin.

“You learn to adapt, and I think that is the biggest asset it gives you,” Rossi said. “You have to look at it more as an advantage than a disadvantage, I’m always trying to do that. If you can adapt and overcome adversity, I think that’s a very big skill set to learn.”

Rossi is hoping to build off his experience in Whitman Student Government to become SA president.

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Most people in Rossi’s high school in Yorktown, New York, didn’t know he was born without a hand. Coach Mike Rescigno said Rossi didn’t want it to be known and this spurred Rossi to work for himself, pushing himself to be a better version of himself.

“He wasn’t a starter on our team, but he actually set the bar for what work is supposed to look like in practice,” Rescigno said. “That’s probably the greatest compliment you can give someone in athletics.”

Throughout school, Rossi said he missed the boat on some activities. He was an outsider to student government until he ran for a position in Whitman’s student government.

It was in February when Tyler first revealed to his girlfriend of five years that he was considering running for SA president. It wasn’t something he planned for a long time but he knew it was the right decision for him, he said.

Tyler knew there was only one person he would enter the race with, and sent a Facebook message to Tin asking if he would join him as his running mate. The pair met the next day and cemented their decision.

The first time Rossi played a role in student government was during his freshman year when he represented his class in the Whitman student government. It was there that he got to know his running mate — the man he said was his only option as a vice president.

If Tin had declined his offer to run with him, the campaign would not exist, Rossi said.

“Without Tyler, there was no chance I would be running,” Tin said. “He’s one of the most respected students that I’ve ever met. … He’s very inspirational.”

Rossi and Tin pushed through several tangible changes in Whitman during their time in the student government. They helped move up the opening hours of the cafeteria so students with early classes could get their caffeine fix, and they helped replace the old bulletin board with an electric one that scrolls through events.

During the past year, Rossi said he followed SA closely, and was alarmed by the number of bylaw violations that occurred, further incentivizing him to run for the top spot. His platform is formed around creating tangible change, and improving safety and diversity on campus.

First on the list for Rossi is addressing safety on campus. He has met with Bobby Maldonado, chief of the Department of Public Safety, and said he hopes to install more cameras off-campus and ensure Marshall Street is safer for students. A shooting occurred in the Marshall Street area earlier this semester.

“I’m sick and tired of Marshall Street always being an issue, I’m tired of getting that DPS email,” Rossi said.

Another key element to the pair’s platform is diversity. As an international student, Tin said he represents other international students and he has met with directors at the Slutzker Center for International Services. Additionally, Tyler has been fostering a relationship with the Office of Disability Services. They hope to work with a diverse group of organizations to create an inclusive environment on campus.

Rossi said he worries that students consider transferring because they don’t feel SU has an inclusive environment.

“That needs to change,” he said.

Although they are outsiders, Rossi and Tin feel they have the experience to take on the job. Their campaign has often criticized the current SA administration and some of the long-term members of SA. If elected, Tin said they would like to see a large turnover in cabinet staff.

“We will figure out who’s staying and who’s not staying,” Tin said. “In order to change, the culture must change so we will use different metrics to look at different members’ competency and how much they can deliver in our administration.”

Rossi plans on running a transparent administration that is open to feedback from students, he said. He added that he will operate on an open door policy, and will listen to the everyday problems students see on campus.

With polls opening on Monday, Rossi said he has varying levels of confidence. His Facebook group has a large following, and he and Roy have garnered some endorsements, including from Syracuse football quarterback Eric Dungey.

“Roy, I’ve known him since freshman year so he’s one of my good friends so I’m endorsing, you know I’m supporting him in what he’s doing so,” Dungey said.

They are the underdogs in the race, Rossi said, adding that if he doesn’t win the presidency he will stay engaged. If Rossi doesn’t get elected, he would like to sit down with Franco and share thoughts and ideas heading into the next year.

“Running has been an extraordinary experience, I’ve got to meet some amazing people, I’ve got to learn a lot of things,” Rossi said. “Win or lose, it’s been a great experience.”

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