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Student Association Brings the World Within Reach to UAlbany

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 19, 2011) -- What is big, bold, and provides University at Albany students everything from the chance to hear speakers like businessman and philanthropist Magic Johnson on Oct. 15 to concerts like LMFAO and Far East Movement on Nov. 12? The answer is Student Association (SA). With a budget of $2.3 million, the recognized undergraduate student government on campus funds more than 200 student groups and offers UAlbany students events as varied as concerts, comedy shows, and programs for the multicultural and LGBT communities.

Student Association President Zafir Uddin

Student Association President Zafir Uddin seeks more student involvement in efforts that address real community needs. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

“The benefits of Student Association are among the best kept secrets in Albany,” said SA President Zafir Uddin, a senior and a business major from Brooklyn, N.Y.

One such advantage is SA’s Block Party 2011 coming up on Sunday, Sept. 25, from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dutch Commons. The block party is but one of the many activities happening this semester and paid for by the student activity fee.

SA Makes a Difference

While there are many opportunities to sit back and enjoy the show, there are also chances to get involved, volunteer, and gain experience. “SA is a venue for students to advocate for themselves,” said Uddin.

Last May, Uddin joined with President George M. Philip and President of the Graduate Student Organization Heidi Nicholls to announce October as UAlbany’s first Community Service Month.

“My own goal is to increase SA’s role in getting students involved in efforts that address real community needs and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Uddin. The rewards are great, and SA interns can earn academic credit through the Community and Public Service Program, he added.

For example, SA will announce an exciting new collaboration at the kick-off event on October 5 at 11 a.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom. It will be followed by a talent mini camp led by UAlbany student clubs.

There are many other ways to get involved. Officers, consisting of directors, assistants, and interns, work in the day-to-day operations of nine departments in the executive branch at SA. These include: marketing, programming, office of the comptroller, legislative affairs, academic affairs, multicultural affairs, gender and sexuality, community outreach, and student group affairs. In addition, the judicial branch consists of seven justices, including a chief justice, and an estimated 50 to 60 students serving as elected senators to the legislative branch headed by Senate Chairman Arthur Rushforth.

As Program Director DaJuan Walker, Uddin, and Marketing Director Matt Curran will attest, volunteering at SA is a resume builder.

“If you do your job at SA really well, you can do it anywhere,” said Walker, a political science major from Harlem, N.Y.

Eventually, as students learn how to serve at SA, “You are going to know what’s going on,” said Curran, a public policy major and sophomore from Hauppauge, N.Y. “You’re putting yourself out there. You are the final product.”

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 17,500 students. An internationally recognized research university with 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.