Students recently voted Michael Kimmer to succeed Kevin Clayton as president of the Student Association, and he has had a turbulent ride to the top. He will work alongside Isabella Sofia, the new executive vice president of the Student Association, for the 54th legislation next year.
Kimmer discovered his passion for leadership in high school, where he was president of his class. However, Kimmer had a tough climb to get to where he is today.
An aficionado of skiing and music festivals, the Niskayuna native hit his stride his second semester of freshman year in 2013, during which he enjoyed being with his friends and absorbing the campus vibe.
However, in his sophomore year, things changed.
“The next semester that I came back, I came back with a massive quantity of cannabis,” — a pound and three ounces — “which was a pretty serious mistake,” Kimmer said. “I was doing some things I shouldn’t have been doing.”
Soon after he had opened up the bag in the room of his suite, a University Police officer came to his door.
“It literally went off like an atomic bomb of stink,” he said. “It stunk the whole building up, three floors up, three floors down.”
He was eventually cuffed and taken to the UP station, where he was handcuffed to a chair. He ended up serving nine months in jail.
Kimmer said he does not consume cannabis anymore. After serving his time, he worked as a mattress salesman while he met with campus faculty and staff to work at returning to PSUC as a student.
Now a public relations major, he is preparing for the future and currently enjoying his role as president-elect of the SA.
“Everyone I met with — the faculty, the staff, all of the senators and executives I’ve met with thus far and had conversations with, it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience,” he said. “I just feel so blessed to have this opportunity, and whenever I interact with all these people, I see that, and I see the potential for the good that we can do.”
SA President Kevin Clayton said Kimmer is very passionate, and he brings in a lot of ideas when some in the Student Association might be used to the way things are.
“Bringing in someone — especially in such a permanent position on the outside — it’s not a bad thing to force us to reevaluate that,” Clayton said. “It is where change happens.”
Sofia said the transition process for the next legislation is going well. She has met with campus faculty and staff and presided over Senate meetings in preparation for her executive vice presidency.
“My job description’s very vague, so I can either do a lot with it, or I can … do the minimum,” Sofia said. “I’m definitely going to take advantage of it.”
She said that conversations about diversity on campus are the biggest thing for next semester.
“My big thing is that diversity isn’t just race, and I kind of want to bring out the underrepresented groups on campus.”
Sofia has spoken with Rhema Lewis, the health educator and outreach coordinator for the PSUC Center for Student Involvement, in regard to holding a LGBT conference to have speakers come to the college and have discussions about gender and sexuality.
Clayton’s hopes for both Kimmer and Sofia are just that – to take the conversations about diversity that have taken place throughout the semester, and make those words into actions to try to “change campus culture.”
While he remains a lifeline for new executive council members, he said it is his duty to step back and let the new members take the reins of the SA.
“I will help out in any way I can, but at their invitation,” Clayton said. “It is their show, and I’m not going to undermine them by getting involved where I’m not wanted.”
Email Tim Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org