It is time for the positions of the SUNY Plattsburgh’s Student Association to be transferred to new student leaders as newly elected members of the campus community, who wish to bring representation and inclusion, will begin their roles in the 57th legislation.
Successor to current SA President Jessica Falace is junior sociology major from Freeport, Long Island, Essence Hightower. Hightower is regarded by her peers as culturally aware, approachable and a stand-out member of PSUC’s campus.
“She’s definitely outgoing. She sticks out in everything that she does,” Falace said.
Hightower was on the forefront of backlash to a racist snapchat posted in January and marched for equality with fellow PSUC students down the streets of downtown Plattsburgh.
“I didn’t truly meet her until the whole Snapchat incident last semester,” Falace said. “That’s when she was really out there helping students and being the first one out there going ‘What can I do to help this situation?’”
Hightower has been preparing for her role of SA president for some time. She was in contact via email with various faculty and staff members as well as current SA members, including Falace, since the beginning of this past summer.
“She really wanted to make sure she was making the right decision and that she could handle the job,” Falace said.
Hightower’s interest and involvement in issues surrounding diversity and an open campus dialogue are aspects she will implement in her work as SA president.
“She is focused on culture and that is something that is a very moving topic right now in our society as well as our college community,” Falace said. “She always keeps that conversation going.”
Another PSUC student new to their SA position is Vice President of Finance is Rudaba Ahmed.
“For my position, I believe there were a lot of qualified [people] who I also supported,” Ahmed said. “I thought their campaigning was amazing.”
Ahmed stated that she only knew she received the VP of Finance position because her running-mate, Lily Crosman, congratulated her on the win. An email revealing the winners of each position was sent out by Falace on Wednesday night.
“I really didn’t want to look at the email,” Ahmed said. “I was really shocked that I got such an amazing opportunity because it’s such a big role.”
Ahmed stresses her appreciation for the support and trust of PSUC students that is vital to fulfilling her financial role.
“It’s important that whoever gets it takes it seriously. Students must put their trust in you because at the end of the day, it’s their money,” Ahmed said. “I want the SA fees to work for the student body, not the other way around.”
The new VP of Finance plans to implement fun, memorable on-campus events that are free to students.
Ahmed is an international student from Bangladesh and hopes to incorporate inclusion into campus life with a multicultural fair that demonstrates the immense diversity each culture and country has.
A fresh face to the SA staff is newly appointed senator Mac-Oliver Lalanne. Lalanne is a freshman computer science major from Brooklyn who did community service in high school and is interested in politics and video games.
“I want to bring my perspective of being a first-year college student,” Lalanne said. “I hope to bring a lot of positive energy.”