Alexandra Cicero, a SUNY Cortland sophomore, is a student leader focused on energizing her fellow students to become engaged in civic decision-making. She began serving as a role-model in her first week at SUNY Cortland, when she volunteered with NYPIRG as part of her service-learning English Composition course. In the year-and-a-half since, she has been recruiting students to participate with her in hunger, environmental, social justice, and voting projects. She has done so by taking leadership roles in NYPIRG and in the SUNY Student Association, and by working collaboratively with people who hold different points of view.
I've always been interested in local issues, where I feel like I can make an impact. Previously, as a high school member of the National Honor Society, I volunteered regularly, but my volunteering never seemed substantial. At SUNY Cortland I've found many outlets for my eagerness to serve. NYPIRG is one of the most empowering organizations I've found myself in. With it, I work on issues at local, campus, and town levels, alongside the larger scheme of New York State. NYPIRG's student led coalitions are nonpartisan and all inclusive. The diversity in topic and leadership provides the momentum for progress. Over the past two years I have been an issue leader in Higher Education Affordability and Voter Empowerment. Being able to work with my peers on issues that directly affect us alongside the proper training and network is inspiring. My membership in Student Government and the Institute for Civic Engagement also works to engage students politically, on campus, and at the state level. One of our current works in progress includes the creation of a food bank for students who are food insecure. I'm grateful to have such organizations to put my energy into helping others. - Alexandra Cicero.