This post will highlight two women who are very involved at SUNY Oneonta. One is part of the SUNY Student Assembly Executive Committee and the other is not. Both of these women have made their campus community a place for all students and we want to recognize all the hard work they do for their school. Read their stories below!
1. Name and position (in both your campus SGA and SUNY SA)
Nicole Pereira: Nicole Pereira, President of the SUNY Oneonta Student Association; Chair of State Operated Campuses and University Colleges Representative for the SUNY Student Assembly.
Alyssa Cohen: Alyssa Cohen, President of the Resident Student Organization (RSO)
2. What is your major and year?
NP: I am a senior Communication Studies major.
AC: Senior, Psychology major.
3. How did you get involved in both campus SGA and SUNY SA?
NP: I became involved my junior year when the Student Association was tabling in the quad with senator positions. I wanted to get more involved and joining student government seemed like the perfect way to do so. For SUNY SA, I have been to several conferences before joining the organization so I knew what their purpose was, but I wasn’t as involved as I’d like to be. At the Spring 2016 conference, I decided to run for the representative position and was grateful to receive a position.
AC: I got involved with RSO my freshman year when my RD suggested I get more involved on campus. I instantly fell in love with the organization and continued my involvement every year.
4. Why did you get involved?
NP: I got involved because I truly enjoy helping others. Before joining student government, I was very involved with the Habitat for Humanity chapter at my institution. Community service is important to me and I wanted to engage with the campus on a bigger level so I joined the Student Association. From there, I saw the opportunity to engage with other SUNY campuses on an even bigger level and the SUNY Student Assembly did not disappoint.
AC: The mission of RSO is to improve all aspects of on campus living through programming, advocacy initiatives, and community building. I loved how involved all of our representatives were on campus and in their residence halls. Being able to give a voice to our on campus residents and liaise between the students and the office of Residential Community Life is amazing. We also have a chance to meet and network with students from schools all over our Northeast region and the country at NACURH conferences (National Association of College and University Residence Halls). Seeing how other campuses operate and discussing our roles on campus is my favorite part!
5. Why you think its crucial for women to get involved in student government
NP:The student voice is very powerful. I believe it is great to always have a diverse group of students giving input on a situation to ensure a variation of ideas or solutions. Women make up a majority of SUNY Oneonta’s student population so our voice is critical when making decisions. Some people may not realize how much of an impact we can make on our campuses and ensuring that the voice of the women are included in student government is crucial; women play a pivotal role in student government.
AC: It’s crucial for women to get involved in student government to have a greater voice on campus. I’ve learned that the administration truly does appreciate student feedback and opinions, nothing will ever change for the better if no one speaks up. Women play a huge role in this by simply getting involved and sharing their opinions. One person can make a huge difference when representing their fellow students.
6. What is something you wish you knew when joining?
NP:I wish I knew how much of an impact you actually make when joining student government. As first, I was just joining student government to get more involved, but I didn’t realize the impact it would have on my life. I love what I do and enjoy helping the students on a daily basis. Being involved in student government has also lead me to pursue a career path focusing on public administration.
AC: I joined RSO to try to make a difference on campus, but I wish I had known what a large impact my organization could have on me. I fell in love with the work I was doing; it sparked my interest in getting even more involved on campus, and ultimately exposed me to the field of higher education and my career goals.
7. One tip for women who wants to get involved in either/both campus SGA and SUNY SA
NP: Don’t hesitate. Don’t be shy; if you have something to say, say it. Your voice is just as powerful and important as anyone elses. If you push yourself out of your comfort zone, great things will happen.
AC: My #1 tip is to throw yourself out of your comfort zone. I jumped head first into an unfamiliar organization and never looked back. I know for certain I would be a completely different person had I not joined RSO. If you never take risks you may never find your home.
8. Who inspires you?
NP:Honestly, the students inspire me. Seeing how dedicated students are to the clubs and organizations they are involved in inspire me to continue working hard in my President position and reminds me of why I joined student government in the first place. Student leaders are inspiring and being able to witness students growing as leaders is incredible.
AC: I am inspired by my advisors. They have committed themselves to the field and to helping students like me find their place and get involved on campus. They have such passion for what they do and you can tell they truly enjoy helping. I hope to be even half as dedicated to my future profession as they are.
9. Optional: One fun fact nobody knows about you.
NP:I will be starting my graduate studies at the University at Albany in the Fall for my Masters in Public Administration.
Check back every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in March for more Women of SUNY stories!