New and returning SUNY Student Assembly leaders anticipate building a wider platform for student advocacy in public higher education awaiting changes in leadership and policy make ripples across the University system.
For Marc J. Cohen, who today began his second term as President of the SUNY Student Assembly and Trustee of the State University of New York, further progress is still critical to improve the lives of SUNY students across the state.
“One of the most significant issues facing student governments today is a lack of continuity in leadership,” said Cohen. “With a new Chancellor on the way, the search for the next Provost imminent, legislative battles yet to be fought, and so many critical issues facing the 600,000 students of the State University of New York, I am excited, proud, and humbled to have been elected for another term. SUNY is home to the greatest students in the world, and helping to lead them has been the highlight of the college career.”
At Cohen’s right hand is Nicole Pereira, who will serve as Vice President in the coming year. Pereira, President Emerita of SUNY Oneonta’s Student Association, was elected following a successful tenure as a representative and committee chair with the Assembly. As Chair of the State-Operated Campuses Committee, Pereira oversaw nine other representatives and worked with more than two dozen campus student governments on developing policies aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability from both student leaders and administrators alike, including the Assembly’s first comprehensive policy on broad-based fees at state-operated campuses.
Margaret Ketchen, another rising student leader, will continue building on her experience in student advocacy with her election to a full term as Secretary of the Student Assembly. Ketchen was elected Interim Secretary in January to fill a vacancy after serving as Deputy Director of Communications, having joined the Assembly’s Executive Cabinet last June. Ketchen has also served this year as Student Government President at Schenectady County Community College.
Rounding out the Executive Board this year is Treasurer Michael Braun, former President of the Cortland Student Government Association. While this will be Braun’s first year involved with the day-to-day operations of the Student Assembly, he is no stranger to student advocacy and leadership in the SUNY system. Braun has repeatedly involved his peers at Cortland in statewide and federal advocacy efforts and brings invaluable experience with state politics to the Student Assembly.
“This past year saw students leading the charge to “move the box," select the next Chancellor for the State University of New York, advocate for increased state aid, and push for application fee waivers for active duty and military veterans, among countless other initiatives,” said Cohen. “I look forward to working with three extraordinary student leaders, each of whom brings unique experience from serving as president of the student governments at Schenectady, Oneonta, and Cortland.”