Ryan Lizanecz ’20 wasn’t planning on running for Student Body President. Although he has represented the class of 2020 for three years, he didn’t necessarily see himself in the chief position.
“[Running] was a very last-minute thing,” he said. “To be completely honest, during my time on student government I found that the system wasn’t functioning properly. So I wanted to change that.”
Lizanecz, originally from Portland, Maine, wants to increase the legitimacy of the Bates Student Government system in the eyes of the students, restructure the college’s constitution, and increase the pull that the organization has with the administration.
“As a senior, I thought it gave me a chance to get involved and change [things] for the next generation of Bates students,” he explained.
Lizanecz chose Bates because of the community. Though he looked at other NESCAC schools, he felt like the people at Bates were the nicest and most welcoming. He also got a good financial aid package, making it less expensive for him to attend Bates than the University of Maine.
Throughout his time as a class representative, Lizanecz has worked on providing meals for students who have calculated family contributions of $10,000 or less over breaks and getting local businesses discounts for Bates students. He also worked on parking reform and building a better relationship between security and creating the Bates Security Council.
Lizanecz worked closely with President Spencer while on the President’s Advisory Council, an experience he remembers fondly.
President Spencer, who spoke to The Bates Student in a phone interview, thinks Lizanecz is a great fit for student government.
“I respect Ryan a great deal and have very much enjoyed working with him over the past few years,” she said. “I very much look forward to working closely with him and the student government during the upcoming year.”
Outside of student government, Lizanecz is the Vice President of the Deansmen, works in the Purposeful Work office as an assistant, and occasionally works at WRBC, the student radio station.
Lizanecz acknowledged how much time his role in Student Government has taken up.
“Being President takes up a lot of time,” he said. “Any form of working on student council is a big time commitment. So, if you want to get involved, you have to get into it for the right reasons and not as a resume builder.
The most important part of being a part of student government, according to Lizanecz, is to stay up to date on what’s going on in the community.
“Be an active member of the community,” he said. “Stay up to date on Bates news and talk to your professors, students, and staff about what is happening around you.”
Working on student government is not easy, and Lizanecz said that if someone wants to be involved in government, they should “be aware that everything involves compromises. Not everything that you want to get done actually gets done.”
Lizanecz, who is majoring in Politics with a minor in Music, is cherishing the remaining time he has at Bates.
“Honestly, the people here are what makes Bates a special place,” he said. “If you took the people out then Bates wouldn’t be what it is. That’s what I’m going to miss the most: the connections that I have with my friends and the community here.”