Plattsburgh State junior Julissa Vera has always had a passion for philanthropy. When she was in fifth grade, her school did a musical during April, which is Child Abuse Awareness Month. She said her class had to do extensive research about real life situations.
“It wowed me that this type of stuff is real,” she said.
When she was a freshman, she said she felt a little lost with what direction she wanted to go in with the different clubs and organizations.
“I definitely wanted to get involved with Greek life because they’re very involved with community outreach and working with philanthropies,” she said. “Growing up, I really looked up to Audrey Hepburn. I always wanted to do something with philanthropy and maybe one day becoming a humanitarian as well so I try to do as much as I can to give back to the community.”
So when Vera came to PSUC, she was thrilled to hear that there was a sorority sponsoring Prevent Child Abuse America.
“So once I saw (Sigma Delta Tau) had this philanthropy, it immediately drew my attention.”
Currently, Vera is the vice president of Sigma Delta Tau, and she is also the vice president of Standards for PSUC’s Inter-Sorority Association.
“I wanted to be more involved on the campus outside of my sorority,” she said. “I wanted to hold a bigger position rather than just a big position in just my organization.”
President of Sigma Delta Tau Madison Winters said she has known Vera for a while, but they didn’t get close until they became house mates last semester. Winters said Vera is “hands down the funniest person” she knows. They also work closely together as president and vice president for their sorority.
“Julissa always has an upbeat personality. She likes to see the best in people, and that’s the first thing you notice about her,” she said. “She always goes out of her way to say ‘hi’ and make people feel comfortable.”
Winters called Vera her “right-hand woman” when it comes to working together to create new ideas for their chapter. Winters said Vera is also the type of person that respects the rules, especially given her role with the Inter Sorority Association. Winters said that Vera does know when to be serious and when to have fun. For the most part, Winters said Vera is always on the go.
Winters said what makes Vera so successful is that she’s a “realistic optimist.” Winters said Vera has great ideas, but she never gets carried away with them.
“I just think she’s one of those people that you can throw in a room of strangers, and she’ll be just fine,” Winters said. “She loves it, and she loves meeting new people.”
Vera said she learned a lot about her own values after joining Greek life.
“When I look at my sorority, I don’t just see it as a sisterhood, I see it as more of like a business and goal,” Vera said. “And we’re trying to reach that goal and work together as a group for something.”
Besides being a leader in Greek life, she is also an international business major and has two minors in marketing and global supply chain.
“I had a family friend that was working in international business, and my grandmother worked for these two guys that did international business,” she said. “I like to travel, and I wanted to learn about other cultures and doing business in other countries.”
She also had an internship as a campus manager with University Tees, which was company that connected with student organizations to customize apparel and accessories.
Vera even went to the Involvement Fair this past semester to market the company. She went from table to table making sales pitches to different PSUC clubs and organizations.
Vera’s adviser has also taken notice of her work ethic. Senior Counselor for Educational Opportunity Program Amy Daniels said Vera is very outgoing and personable, along with having a very strong work ethic.
“I think she’s very approachable and people feel very comfortable around her,” Daniels said. “I think people in her presence can pick up on that.”
Daniels also said that Vera’s social skills will also help her with getting a career in the future.
“A lot of time, getting a good career is about networking and building positive relationships, and I think she will do well with that,” she said. “I think that this involvement will help her kind of specify her goals and get them more specific. I see it as a progression. I think this is all part of her journey, and that will get her to the next step. I think her future is bright.”
Vera said she can see herself working in the city after school. She can also see herself traveling to different countries in Europe and South America.
Vera said she feels like a completely different person from her freshman self. She believes taking that leap with Greek life really helped shape her leadership skills.
“I didn’t see myself where I am today,” she said. “I didn’t know I had that potential in me to really climb the ladder and do more.”
Email Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org