Tara Maltese: helping students be their best

Tara Maltese, a sophomore political science major with a concentration in public policy and law, is a candidate for secretary in the Student Government Association’s (SGA) upcoming E-Board election.

Maltese has served in SGA since her freshman year, first as a senator for the Class of 2023, and this year as the co-chair of the Public Relations Committee. As part of this committee, she said she has dedicated much of her time to promoting club activities around campus and believes that “in a virtual environment, it is more crucial than ever to keep students updated on the proceedings on campus.”

Outside of SGA, Maltese is the secretary for Suffolk’s Pinky Swear Pack, an ambassador group for the Pinky Swear Foundation, which fundraises and provides emotional support for children with cancer and their families. She is also part of the Journey Leadership Program at Suffolk and is a member of Theta Phi Alpha sorority.

Maltese hopes that as secretary, she will be able to make SGA and the decisions it makes more accessible to students on and off campus. 

“[I feel] very strongly about using all resources available to continue to make Suffolk and its community more engaged, and strive for being the best we can be,” Maltese said. 

One way she plans to accomplish this is by creating an abbreviated version of SGA’s weekly meeting minutes to post on SGA’s social media pages “with important details for students to view in a digestible manner,” she said. She also hopes to develop a plan to continue SGA events, such as the SGA Awards and retreats, so that they may be held when in-person celebrations are not possible.

“Students deserve to feel celebrated for their work, even if we cannot meet in person, and having a plan in place could assist future E-Boards and other clubs with planning their own events,” Maltese said.

When asked about improving Suffolk’s COVID-19 response, Maltese said, “I very firmly believe in the need for a pass/fail option for students if virtual learning is to continue. The mental health of our students should be a top priority, and many students have expressed feelings of profound loneliness and isolation living on campus, in addition to frustration with online learning that needs to be addressed and handled properly by the university.”  

Previously, SGA’s unanimous resolution for a pass/fail option in the Fall 2020 semester was denied by Suffolk’s administration, although the option is available for the Spring 2021 semester.

With COVID-19 still prevalent in the U.S., it is clear that virtual learning will not be going away anytime soon. In order to help students who are struggling with mental health, are hearing impaired or are finding it difficult to learn and digest information online, Maltese plans to push for live-closed captioning for Suffolk’s Zoom classes. 

“Not only would this provide necessary assistance for those who require it, but it could also assist students, in general, to maintain focus in classes,” she said. “Reading while learning increases retention of material and could subsequently boost engagement and productivity in classes.

“Especially in a time when it can be so easy to feel disconnected, I want to help students feel supported through this pandemic and continuing with their studies.” Maltese said. 

If senators decide to revisit whether or not SGA will support arming the Suffolk University Police Department, Maltese said she “cannot support or deny the issue based on [her] own personal feelings.” 

“If the Senate were to either reaffirm or reverse its earlier decision, I believe it must reflect how the students are feeling at this point in time,” Maltese said.

Follow Leo on Twitter @leowoods108.