After finishing two years at Orange County Community College, Erika Winters was looking for a college that reminds her of home and has a unique art element; she found the best of both worlds at Plattsburgh State.

The English literature senior was originally interested in SUNY Purchase, which is closer to her home in Pine Bush, N.Y. But after learning Purchase wasn’t for her, she looked elsewhere and found PSUC. Captivated by the school’s “weird” art and one-of-a-kind features, she decided to transfer last fall.

“Amity Plaza has the two men shaking each other’s hands. That just drew me to it because it’s weird. It’s not like any other campus I’ve ever seen. And I had been to about five or six other ones at that point,” she said. “I was like, ‘alright, this is cool.’ Then I saw Hawkins Pond, and I was completely set.”

Despite not knowing anyone once at PSUC, she immediately involved herself in club activities and quickly made friends.

One of the people she became friends with is PSUC history and adolescent education senior James Mahoney, whom Winters met last spring.

“It took awhile to get close with her, but once I did, she was very genuine, very caring,” Mahoney said. “She’s a very real person, and that’s hard to find.”

During winter break, she applied to be a resident assistant. Winters participated in the group interviews in February of last semester. She wasn’t selected for an individual interview, but she said the experience was fun and helped motivate her to get involved in other ways.

Now in her senior year, Winters is more involved than ever.

“I’m vice president for the Center for Women’s Concerns and secretary for the Creative Writer’s Guild. Those are my two prides and joy as of right now,” Winters said. “So, I like to be in clubs. I like to be involved.”

Mahoney said that she spends “as much time [in her clubs] as she spends on her class work.”

As the vice president of the CWC, she plans the topics of discussion and helps president Megan Rea, her friend and gender and women’s studies classmate, organize events.
“I’m the Joe Biden to her Barack Obama,” Winters said jokingly.

As the secretary of the Creative Writer’s Guild, she sends blurbs to the student digest and emails to their members about upcoming meetings and events.

Winters is currently helping to bring the two clubs together with “Intersexual Poetry Night,” an event where students come and read poetry from a variety of voices. The event has been held in the past by the Center for Women’s Concerns and LGBTQ Student Union. But now, the Center for Women’s Concerns and Creative Writer’s Guild will host the event for the first time on Thursday, Nov. 16. in the Nina Winkel Sculpture Garden.

Winters is also the vice president of PSUC’s Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society.

PSUC history senior Makenzee Bruce met Winters during their first floor meeting in Banks Hall last fall. Bruce said that, as a student, Winters is “very motivated.”

“As a whole, she’s very driven,” Bruce, who’s also her roommate, said. “When she has to do something, but doesn’t want to, she’ll complain about it, but will still do it.”

Winters said that she believes she has grown as a student and an individual since transferring to PSUC because of her ability to get involved, something she wasn’t able to do while in community college.

“At a community college, there really isn’t an environment where people go out and join clubs. There isn’t a unity that a four-year college, whether it be public or private, offers you,” she said. “I really wasn’t encouraged and interested, so when I got here, I wanted to branch out and join things. And now I’ve joined so many things that I don’t know what to do with myself anymore.”

After graduation in May, Winters wants to go to graduate school to become an English professor and work in a community college.

Email Safire Sostre at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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