When I first arrived on my campus at SUNY Fredonia, I saw so much opportunity. I knew that I wanted to make an impact at my school and help make a difference, but I had no idea how. This mindset of helping others and creating an impact is what led me to run for president of the largest freshman class in my university’s history. Winning that election provided me my first introduction to student government at Fredonia.
As the semester progressed, I became more and more interested and passionate about student advocacy. In November of 2018, we elected the new student association president. I reached out to the President-elect and told him I wanted to apply for the Public Relations Chairperson position. He mentioned to me that he felt I would be a better Student Relations Chairperson. As soon as I heard that title, it rang a bell.
A few weeks prior, we had voted on a resolution to combine the Student Relations Chairperson with the new position from the SUNY Student Assembly titled the SUNY Student Assembly Liaison within our constitution. Soon after my appointment, I was reached out to by the SUNY Student Assembly who went through step-by-step exactly what the position entailed. I was so excited to be getting involved!
Now as the liaison, I was one of the first people to know about the various initiatives set forth by the SUNY Student Assembly and had the opportunity to start them at my own campus. Being a liaison, I felt like I had become apart of something so much bigger than myself. Instead of just making a difference at my school, I was now advocating for the 1.4 million students throughout all 64 SUNY campuses.
Later on in the semester, I had the privilege of attending the SUNY Student Assembly 2019 Spring Conference, where I learned so many skills I was able to bring back to Fredonia with me. During the conference, I even had the opportunity to network with all the other liaisons throughout SUNY and learn more effective methods to institutionalize the Student Assembly on my campus.
Being a liaison has taught me so much, and it has definitely been one of the highlights within my college career. Not only has being a liaison opened my eyes to my passion for student advocacy, but it sparked my interest for the SUNY Student Assembly specifically. Serving as liaison gave me the skill set and confidence to apply to be on the SUNY Student Assembly Executive Committee.
Now, I have the honor of serving as the Acting Director of Engagement, where I am able to work on a weekly basis with all of the Student Assembly liaisons. Becoming a liaison set me on a path to greater advocacy, empowerment, and success.
Written by Jimmy Kinney, Acting Director of Engagement, SUNY Fredonia