Power to the Students: SUNY SA and Making Our Voices Heard

We go to SUNY JCC, but does the SUNY part really have anything to do with us? As students, it’s easy to think that our voices go unheard, especially from a small community college far from Albany. But students have a voice in the SUNY system, one that you might not even know about!

There is an organization called SUNY SA, or the Student Assembly of the State University of New York. They take what we want as college students and present it to the chancellor of SUNY, along with other powerful members of the SUNY administration. Without students telling the administration of both JCC and SUNY the change we want to see, they won’t know what changes need to be made. We need to make our voices heard, and SUNY SA empowers us to do just that.

Group of students giving a thumbs up.

Thumbs up for recycling! This photo was taken after a sustainability roundtable, and every member of JCC’s Student Senate who attended is in here somewhere. Find them all!

Name Badge

My name badge at SUNY SA. It got a little gaudy.

SUNY SA meets every month for a weekend to pass resolutions and perform other organizational functions. Once each semester, representatives from all 64 SUNY campuses gather together for a SUNY SA conference. Depending on the number of students, colleges can have up to four voting representatives. Think of it like how the US House of Representatives works. JCC has one voting delegate, which is usually the job of the president of JCC’s Student Senate. During these meetings, resolutions are brought forward that each college’s delegate(s) votes on, keeping in mind the wants and needs of the students at their respective institutions. If these resolutions pass, they’re passed along to SUNY, who can enact system-wide changes. Think about that: we have a voice in how SUNY is run, an institution that serves almost a half million students.



From left, SUNY SA representative Caitlin Drennan and JCC senator Walker O'Neil

From left, SUNY SA representative Caitlin Drennan and JCC senator Walker O’Neil.

This past weekend some of our own student senators traveled to Rochester for the first SUNY SA conference of the year, where they participated in leadership workshops to learn how to better serve and represent our student body. Many resolutions were passed in meetings; some topics included diversity, local produce, blood donor equality, and loans. The important thing about this is that it’s about YOU! The more you talk to your Senate about things you would like to see, the better you can be represented!

Get in touch with Senate by coming to one of our meetings (most Mondays at noon in the Lenna Theatre), on social media (@SUNYJCCSenate or facebook.com/sunyjccsenate), through this webform, or just by stopping by our office on campus.

About the author

Alivia Sheffield

Hi, I’m Alivia. I’m a sophomore from Van Buren Point, NY majoring in environmental science. I plan to eventually become a wildlife biologist. I’m an active member of Student Senate, the Earth Awareness Club, Hall Council, and the FSA activity board. Outside of school I enjoy volunteering at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, balloon twisting, unicycling, camping, hiking, and vegetarian cuisine! I love and appreciate this college and I hope to better it as much as I can. I like being involved, learning new skills, meeting new people, and bringing change when and where it’s needed.