Before the end of every academic year, IE University holds elections for its upcoming Student Government. Throughout the past few weeks, student government teams have been competing against each other with campaigns, proposals, and online debates.
The aim is to be elected by IE University students as the upcoming academic year’s student government. After all the campaigning and hard work put forth by every team was finished, the Yellow Team came out on top. Here is an interview with Yellow Team’s Ricardo D’Ambrosio, the new student government president. He tells us about his personal and professional experiences, as well as the process of becoming the current IE University Student Government President.
Tell us about yourself. Where you are from, what do you study, and what year are you in?
My name is Ricardo D’Ambrosio. I am 19 years old and originally from Caracas, Venezuela. I study Dual Degree in Business Administration and Laws at the IE University Segovia Campus and am currently finishing my second year. I will spend one more year studying in Segovia and then will be moving to the beautiful city of Madrid.
Tell us about your experience at IE University and how you decided to be part of Student Government?
I have only ever lived in Venezuela, so when I decided to attend IE University, my whole life changed in ways I never expected. Thanks to the variety of nationalities on campus and the unique opportunities we have to develop ourselves, I have been able to grow significantly in every aspect of my life. As a result, I thought that giving back a bit of what I have received from the community was the best way to create an impact on our beloved student body. When I saw an opportunity to contribute, I decided to go for it. Before joining the student government, I became part of the community development committee. This included helping as much as possible in all the initiatives that took place on campus, such as “Panas X Venezuela,” Leap Conference, and visits to Caritas Segovia to have a fun afternoon with some amazing children. Before my first year ended, Umberto Greco, former president of student government, asked me to be part of the Red Team in the 2019 – 2020 student government elections.
After a lot of hard work, we won the election and I became Community Development Officer of the Segovia Campus. I had a great year full of experiences and initiatives that made me fall even more in love with our University. After being part of student government for one term, I decided that everything I had learned would be useful in allowing me to lead as president of an incredible team campaigning towards being the newest student government. Now, shortly after receiving the results of the election, I am extremely proud of everything that the Yellow Team was able to create and put into action during the campaign to show the student body just how much we want to work for IE University.
How did the online debates and elections process go?
One month before the COVID-19 crisis began, our team met in Segovia so we could have our official pictures taken and discuss our strategy for the campaign. We wanted to design the most memorable campaign IE University has ever seen and take the election by storm. Shortly after this meeting, the pandemic reached our university and circumstances changed not only for us as a team, but for everyone worldwide. It had a big impact on us because it meant that we were going to have to change our whole strategy, but one thing stayed the same: our desire to make the most memorable campaign. We started working together on migrating all of our ideas over to the online world. Our team is proud of ourselves for carrying out live sessions every day, including bringing on a DJ and a professional certified coach to give the students some tips on how to handle their feelings during this pandemic, all while keeping up with informative content about our proposals.
Unfortunately, we encountered technical issues during a very important part of the campaign: the first debate. Omar Sherif, the Academics Officer in Segovia, experienced a power outage in Cairo, Egypt, where he was practicing social distancing alongside his family. This was very unexpected for us. Although it was a strong hit against our team’s morale, we knew the election was not over and that we would fight to achieve our goal: to represent and create positive change in our student community.
As a team, we believe that the highs and lows of our campaign have brought positive takeaways, such as resilience and teamwork, to each one of us. We all had very little experience in relation to elections and how to manage a campaign, which is why everything we learned during the campaign will be considered as valuable experiences that we can carry with us and put into practice in the future.
How is the Yellow Team organized?
Our team is formed by six wonderful people:
- Ricardo D’Ambrosio, President for both campuses, from Venezuela.
- Maria Laura Acosta, Communications Officer for both campuses, from Colombia. (Second-year, Bachelor of Laws student)
- Mathieu Metral, Community Development Officer in Madrid, from France. (Second-year, Bachelor in Information Systems Management student)
- Marie-Therese Burkard, Community Development Officer in Segovia, from Germany. (First year, Bachelor in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Economics student)
- Cloe Attieh, Academic Officer in Madrid, from Lebanon. (Second-year, Bachelor in Politics, Law and Economics student)
- Omar Sherif, Academic Officer in Segovia, from Egypt. (Second-year, Dual Degree in Business Administration and International Relations student)
Preparing everything for the campaign was very difficult, as we not only had to deal with the barrier of communication via online platforms, but also the time difference between America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The key for us to achieve an amazing campaign was our zeal for working for our University. I believe we adapted very well to the exceptional circumstances and by staying organized, we are able to meet on a daily basis to continue working towards a better student community.
What are your main proposals? What do you want people to know you are working on, and what do you want to do in the next academic year?
This year we decided that apart from the individual proposals of our team, we needed to have a general agenda that each team member would work towards. This includes:
- The creation of the IE University Parliament formed by all the representatives on each campus.
- The organization of the first IE University MUN (Model United Nations) Conference.
- Making sure that the student body is happy with the mascot that represents us as a university by listening to their opinions about it.
- Making sure that there are clear and fair budgets for clubs and for the student government, and that every student has the possibility to consult them.
- Assuring there is maximum coordination with “The Stork” to be able to communicate efficiently within the student body.
- Having clear communication on student government social media channels so students are aware of what we are doing week after week.
- Creating a new big event (if COVID-19 allows) between Fresher’s Week and the Spring Ball so campuses are able to meet at least three times per year.
Additionally, apart from the general proposals, each member has their own agenda that they will work to achieve during the year. For more information, check out @ieyellowteam on Instagram, where you will find everything laid out in detail.
What is the key to success?
Success for the Yellow Team means to create a change that the students can remember and that will affect their time at IE University positively. The key to success for us relies on hard work, persistence, proactiveness, and a good attitude towards every problem and situation we face during our term.
Anything else you want to add?
On behalf of the new student government, we assure you that we will do everything in our power to generate change and we will not stop working until we achieve our goals. We are thrilled to represent and serve our university, and we believe that through hard work and persistence, we can make great things happen. Make sure to follow @ieustudentgov on Instagram and hopefully, we will see you sooner than you expect. Stay safe, take care, and from your new student government, we wish you all the best.
Congratulations to the Yellow Team for all their hard work amidst the pandemic. Although COVID-19 kept them from using their original campaign strategy, they persevered and were able to come together as a team to be successfully elected as the student government for the 2020-2021 academic year. IE University is looking forward to seeing all of the team’s proposals come to fruition. Thanks to Ricardo for taking the time to answer our questions about his new role as IE University Student Government President.