A Conversation with Student Leader #2 SUNY – Campus News
Legend: SUNY Student Assembly Vice President Michael Casey, left, with the new leadership team: President Ally Chun, Treasurer Jake Longuil and Secretary Tasnia Zzoha.
By Darren Johnson
SUNY’s #2 government student is Michael Casey, 22, a graduate of Greenwich High School (Upstate New York) and former Eagle Scout who went to SUNY Adirondack and is currently completing his four-year psychology degree at SUNY Plattsburgh . .
In an April 30 ceremony, Casey was elected vice president of the SUNY Student Assembly, the governing body representing students at 64 campuses statewide.
Leadership comes naturally to him. Casey previously served as a representative on the executive committee of the State University of New York Student Assembly. He was also a student senator with the SUNY Adirondack Student Association. He was vice-chief of the section of the Order of the Arrow. He is also a Young Adult Advisory Delegate to the General Assembly, representing the Albany Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Casey said in a statement, “It is a tremendous honor to serve the more than 600,000 students at the State University of New York as Vice President of the Student Assembly. In my role as Vice President, I will be involved in SUNYSA business and event planning, and I look forward to pushing for elements of our newly adopted advocacy program. I am ensuring that during the short one-year period that I will serve, represent SUNY and SUNYSA with dignity, honor, and integrity as the second representative of student government in our university system.
Ally Chun, a sophomore at Binghamton University studying politics, philosophy and law, was elected president. Jake Longuil, a Stony Brook University graduate student in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, was elected Treasurer. Tasnia Zzoha, a sophomore at Nassau Community College studying liberal arts, was elected secretary. The officers’ terms began June 1. To get further input, I interviewed Casey. Here is the conversation:
DJ: What made you decide to stand for election?
CM: I chose to run for Vice President of the SUNY Student Assembly because I wanted to make sure there was leadership that mattered. I was fed up with the internal politics within the organization, and I wanted to come in and lend a firm hand to the leadership of the Assembly to get us out of this horrible time at the Student Assembly.
DJ: Describe your transition from high school to SUNY Adirondack now to Plattsburgh.
CM: My transition from Greenwich Junior-Senior High School to SUNY Adirondack was seamless. Instead of driving only five minutes or walking about 10 minutes to class, I had to drive about 40 minutes to class, and it was like high school but in a larger pool of students at SUNY Adirondack. My transition from SUNY Adirondack to SUNY Plattsburgh was seamless because I already knew what to do and how to do it!
DJ: Should more students take the transfer route like you have?
CM: I would recommend that all students go to a community college first and then enroll in a four-year school in the SUNY system. It might not be as glamorous as going straight to a four-year school, but it saves you a lot of money. You will thank me for this long term advice.
DJ: Do you like Plattsburgh?
CM: I’ve only been to Plattsburgh about once a month to meet with a teacher from my class and work with the people at the Student Union on issues within the Association this past semester, fall 2021 , and I love this city. It’s a beautiful town on Lake Champlain, with plenty of places to go for a good cup of coffee or a bite to eat.
DJ: I hear there has been some controversy with the SUNY Chancellor search and the lack of student involvement in the selection process. What is the problem and has it been resolved? What are the next steps ?
CM: I am well aware of the problems linked to the lack of involvement in the process of selecting our next Chancellor. For some information, the chancellor is the CEO of the SUNY system. They are accountable for our institution and set the course for where our institution is going for their tenure. I am very concerned about the lack of student and community college involvement in the chancellor selection process. In terms of student involvement, I think it lies in the lack of trust that the administration and trustees rightly have in student leadership because of what happened at the Student Assembly over the past year.
DJ: What was it ?
CM: The Students’ Assembly passed a no-confidence resolution against the Chancellor [Jim] Malatras after the release of emails and SMS.
DJ: Well, you had to take a stand on the matter. What else has the Student Assembly accomplished?
CM: We also adopted our advocacy agenda, which includes items we will lobby the state legislature and system administration for, and we took one of those ideas to the state legislature. ‘State. It was the law on campuses without hunger. The other thing we did was set up a forum with the board where students could openly express themselves and share their ideas with leaders in their system.
DJ: Those sound good. What other big issues will SUNY SA address this upcoming academic year?
CM: We need to work on how we discuss diversity issues within the organization itself. We need to work on how we can make racial minorities feel safe in communities in the upstate region where the majority of our SUNY campuses are located. We need to work on improving how we engage students in writing ideas about what they want to see presented to system administration and the New York State Legislature.
DJ: Any plans for you personally this summer?
CM: I hope to work as a lock operator for the New York State Canal Corporation on the Champlain Canal and have some relaxation and continue the advocacy that my fellow SUNY students call me to do, even during summer vacation.