Hometown: Douglaston, N.Y.
Major(s): History, Black Studies
Minor(s): Disaster Studies, Psychology
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2016
— Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity
— Former vice president, SUNY New Paltz History Club
— DJ, WFNP 88.7 FM (college radio station)
— Social chair, United Greek Association
— Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society)
When you entered New Paltz, did you have an idea of what you wanted to study?
I thought I did. I wanted to do history education and be a high school history teacher. But then I felt differently about it. I lost interest in education around orientation, but still wanted to study history. Now, I plan on becoming a clinical social worker and possibly doing work with both military veterans and teens/college students. My position in my fraternity, brother-at-large, is kind of like being a counselor. I check up on the wellbeing of the brothers, see how they’re doing, and talk to them. If there’s a conflict, I try and quash it.
Why did you join Alpha Epsilon Pi?
I came into New Paltz not wanting to do Greek life. But my roommate in my second semester was in the fraternity. He started bringing me out to wing nights in town, and I just thought I was hanging out with the guys and watching football. But then I got a bid. They brought me into a room and said they wanted me to join.
We do a lot of philanthropic work. You can see us in the SUB doing fundraisers quite often. A big one we do every year is called Pie a Pi, where we sit out in front of Humanities and the Lecture Center, and for $1 or $2, you can pie a brother in the face. The goal is usually around $100,000 for the national fraternity as a whole, and our chapter usually raises money in the hundreds, which has earned us awards from our national organization. We’ve donated to a lot of Israeli-based foundations. We’ve done a lot of breast cancer work.
Being in the fraternity gives us all something in common. We all have the same goals. There’s always something going on. Our hearts are in the right place. What you see on TV and in movies, and what you actually see in practice here, are completely different.
I learned different ways of thinking. I learned to have an altruistic world view, taking other people’s experiences into account.
What got you interested in black studies?
My first semester, I was at orientation, and I saw that I needed to take classes for general education requirements. None of the classes sounded interesting to me, but then I saw “Introduction to Black Psychology.” It changed my perspective and opened my eyes to a lot. I learned different ways of thinking. I learned to have an altruistic world view, taking other people’s experiences into account.
How did you discover New Paltz, and why did you decide to attend?
I heard about it from my neighbor who went here. I wanted to go away to school, but I didn’t want to go too far away. I almost got a full-ride scholarship to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, but I didn’t want to be that far away from my family. I thought New Paltz was a good change of scenery. It’s far enough that I need to take a bus to get up here, but not too far that it would take an entire day of traveling to go home. When I came to visit, it was really chill. Everybody was very polite. People in the city are incredibly rude, but the people here actually wave and say “Hi” to you. I was really shell shocked when I came here.