Leah Christman is currently serving in three critical student leadership roles at SUNY Geneseo: as a Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) Peer Mentor; as a member of the College Voter Registration and Engagement Task Force; and as a Geneseo Andrew Goodman Foundation Ambassador.
Off campus, Leah has selflessly contributed her time and talent in a variety of roles as well by volunteering at both the local hospice and Geneseo's new "Home Away from Home Dementia Care" program. All told, her impact on our community well-being has been consistently substantive and constructive.
Leah's passion for community engagement is coupled with an unusually keen intellect. Her academic accomplishments are many, and have resulted in her being invited to participate in the College's Honors Program as an "Edgar Fellow," and being named as a recipient of a New York State Merit Scholarship.
I have been privileged to work closely with the elderly community through the Office for the Aging and local hospice facilities, hearing the wealth of stories, experiences, and memories each resident has to share. In many cases, they may have never been asked by a young person for their thoughts or opinions. Having seen the painful reality of Alzheimer's disease through working with those who suffer from it, including my own grandmother, the importance of lending a voice to the elderly community has become even more vivid, as it is something we can lose and never regain.
I became a GOLD program mentor to encourage students to become active leaders in their own communities, capable of bridging gaps between people. This includes connecting generations, through dialogue that allows both sides to be heard and find commonalities. By volunteering as an ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, I intend to give these students an opportunity to vote and speak for what they believe: a right that their predecessors may not have had. It becomes all the more important to speak when one understands the precious value of the time they have been given, from those who have lived full lives already.