Ryan Mahan, Keene State College

Ryan MahanRyan joined SAC when he was a freshmen and got involved actively in the organization with event planning, and this year he was elected President of the organization. Even more impressive is the recent Alternative Break trip he led to the Dominican Republic, over winter break. He with another student planned the entire trip, coached students, motivated them, and enabled them to have a life-transforming experience. The group worked with locals to make water filters and in educating the public on the importance of clean water. Ryan describes the conditions there in this way, “If you take a long shower, the way we do in the U.S., you have no water to drink. So its your choice”. A tough choice for 20 year old Americans, but they did it and came away empowered by the experience. Ryan as the leader not only was part of this empowerment but also talks about how transformational this experience was for him. Originally he was thinking of going into the corporate world, but now he wants to work for a non-profit in advocacy which as a Communication major he is well prepared to do. ¬†For a student to lead such a trip is quite amazing to me. Equally impressive is the way Ryan has been strategic in evolving as a leader. As mentioned earlier, he first joined SAC as a member, learned the ropes and then became President. Similarly, he went on an alternative break trip to Denver in his sophomore year and then decided to lead one himself. We seldom see that kind of initiative in students which is why we think Ryan is destined to go on to great things.
-Dr. Anne Huot, President

Higher education has allowed me the opportunity to think critically and extensively. Through academics and co-curricular activities, I learned about the water crisis and the 800 million people who lack access to clean water. I witnessed the hardships and struggles people face because they cannot access clean water. I believe in learning through experience and sharing experiences to teach others about important social issues. Not many people know that the water crisis exists. It has been my goal upon returning from the Dominican Republic to share the story of the water crisis. I hope that through meaningful conversations about what a lack of access to clean water looks like, others may be more conscious of their water consumption. There were times I could not take a shower because it had not rained. There were times I was dehydrated because I used the water we had to shower. There were times I could not use the toilet because I decided to drink water. This does not happen in the United States. Because of this, I will continue my efforts in sharing these stories so the water crisis is known and others may aid in the resolution to this important social justice issue.
-Ryan Mahan