Newly Elected Student Association President Shares Vision for 2016-17, Credits the Organization’s Outgoing Staff
Will Lead on Platform of “Clarity, Community, and Consistency”
Felix Abreu will lead UAlbany's student government for the 2016-17 academic year. (Photo from Her Campus).
ALBANY, N.Y. (April 14, 2016) – Felix Abreu was poised for a leadership role from the moment he stepped onto the University at Albany campus.
During his first move-in day, Abreu, who transferred to UAlbany in Fall 2013, took the initiative to greet new classmates in front of Alumni Quad. He introduced himself, offered to help students unload cars, and even set up Wi-Fi in dorm rooms.
Three years later, it should come as no surprise that Abreu, now a junior, was recently elected as the new Student Association (SA) president for 2016-17.
Since move-in day, he has become largely engaged in various aspect of student life. To cite just some of the clubs/activities Abreu’s been involved with: he’s the President of the Latino Greek Council, a President of the Delta Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Inc., a Residential Assistant (RA), and member of Fuerza Latina (an all-inclusive Latino based organization). He was also a senator under current SA president Jarius Jemmott.
“UAlbany is an amazing place. There’s so much opportunity here,” Abreu said. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to get involved. My prior experience with SA and engagement in other groups on campus, has prepared me to take the next step as leader of our University’s student body.”
Abreu, a native of the Bronx, N.Y., and a computer science major, knows he has big shoes to fill in succeeding Jemmott.
Jemmott, who’s an informatics major, also from the Bronx, arrived at UAlbany as a freshman in 2012. Like Abreu, he had a desire to become actively engaged on campus. Before becoming SA president, he was the student director of campus fraternities (on behalf the All Greek Council), and holds high-level positons with multiple organizations including the Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. and National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Jarius Jemmott, SA's current president, introduces Venus Williams for the University's “World Within Reach Speaker Series” last semester. (Photo by Hilary Knox)
In just one year as SA president, Jemmott and his staff pioneered a major internal and external rebranding effort. Externally, they’ve created a new logo and redesigned the SA website. Internally, new bylaws and policies were established to create a more transparent government, and regain trust from the student body.
“Jarius has been instrumental in instituting new bylaws to make students more trusting of SA,” Abreu said. “It used to be that you would not know what was going on behind SA’s closed doors, unless you were a part of it. He’s changed that. Students now have more access to things like SA’s finances and meeting notes. It has made a huge difference.”
Just as important was Jemmott’s establishment of a “President’s Council.” This council brings together students leaders inside and outside of SA to meet once a month and collaborate. Those invited include fraternity and sorority leaders, along with non-SA funded organizations, like Toastmasters.
Jemmott called the creation of a President’s Council one of his team’s greatest accomplishments, along with landing professional tennis star Venus Williams, and celebrity entrepreneur Daymond John, for the last two “World Within Reach Speaker Series” events.
“By coming together, we were able to collaborate on some really great events, and become more of a unified group of student leaders,” Jemmott said. “It created a stronger bond and better perception of SA.”
As for next year’s transition, Abreu said he hopes to continue where Jemmott left off. Luckily, the current SA president is leaving a “transition book” behind, with some key tips to remember. Jemmott, a first semester senior, will also still be on campus next fall. He hopes to become a “senior advisor” to Abreu and the rest of his executive staff.
Abreu’s platform centers around three words: “Clarity, Community, and Consistency.” He said his team’s focus will be on increasing communication with the student body. Abreu believes his decision making is key to building a positive perception of SA.
“The biggest advice Jarius gave me was to remember I am the voice of the entire student body. I need to make sure I am representing them in every decision I make,” Abreu said. “I am going to continue pushing forward the vision Jarius started this year. It’s important that our students trust us, and feel they are being heard.”
Abreu is UAlbany’s first Latino SA president in two decades, and also a first generation college student. After graduation, he wants to work in either database administration or software development, crediting the University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences for offering him a path to a STEM career.
“I’m a first generation college student, and I’m pursuing a career in computer science. Not a lot of people can say that,” Abreu said. “I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities UAlbany has given me.”
For more information on the Student Association, visit its official website.
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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.