Ellie Rome has a passion for student government



New Student Senate advisor Ellie Rome visits with a student in her office. Rome was hired this summer to advise student government and work with leadership programming at the college.

Rachel Husted, Staff Writer

Having grown up in the Madison area, Ellie Rome attended Madison East High School in her earlier years.  After graduating, she attended Lawrence University for her undergraduate degree, majoring in art history with a minor in French.  

By the time Rome completed her degree, she was hit with the realization that she didn’t want to have a career centered on her major.

“I loved it while I was doing it, but by the time I finished, I definitely knew I was not going into art history,” she said. “That was an interesting thing to study, but not something I wanted to do with my life.”

Instead, Rome turned to other things she was involved in during her college years.

“I was also in student government, and I was a resident assistance, so those are the things that I loved most about college, to be honest,” Rome said.

Taking her passion for student government, Rome began working in student advisement positions, gaining experience before completing her graduate’s degree.

Rome has now returned to Madison as one of Madison College’s newest student program advisors, overseeing the Student Senate and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Her responsibilities in this position are largely interpersonal.

“I spend a lot of time working with the officers of both organizations to help them truly navigate how to get things done on campus, support their goals, their life aspirations, help them to figure out how to get things done, and then also, on a personal level, where they want to go, how to get there, and how the positions they’re in relate to that,” she said.  

In this way, Rome looks to help students develop their full potential, and truly hone skills they will be able to use even after their work here at school.

Already, Rome is diving into the Student Senate’s Hunger Initiative, hoping to be a real asset for the students in order to implement the changes they seek.  

Rome’s biggest goal at the moment would be for “the services on campus to be drastically different a year from now.”

“Nationally, especially at technical colleges and community colleges, student hunger is a really big issue,” Rome said. “People are skipping meals, they don’t have enough money to buy food– or enough money to buy healthy food because that’s also important.  Just because you can eat ramen for every meal doesn’t mean that you’re OK.”

The Student Senate successfully established small food pantries at the regional campuses, but they are continuing work to solve hunger problems plaguing campuses in the metro area.

Rome is further excited to ignite change within the community through the connections she hopes to develop with the students she oversees.  

“I think, for me, art history didn’t have enough to do with people,” Rome reflects. “I didn’t feel like I could make a difference in the world and in the lives of individual people doing art history. I still love it; I love going to museums, but I think I realized when I was in college that I needed a day job where I made a difference.  I needed to interact with people.”

Having landed in a position where she is able to work with people every day, Rome looks forward to building relationships with the students she advises. Rome emphasizes that her door is always open, encouraging her students to drop in if they need a genuine, non-judgmental listener.

“Anybody can understand the policies,” she said, “but if you don’t have that connection with an advisor, whether it’s me or someone else on campus, I think something is lost.”