Nia Vega, a third-year student at SUNY Cortland, demonstrates initiative and collaboration in her work addressing social justice. Over the past two years, she has worked to help students form mutual-support communities, whether in athletics, the performing arts, women’s rights and safety, or minority rights. That work ranges from discussions to assemblies to demonstrate support to peaceful and informative demonstrations. In addition to working with groups, during the past two years she has also worked with individuals, as with her mentoring in first-year, first-generation college students. Through that mentoring, she helps new college students develop confidence and a sense of belonging, of community so that they, themselves, can become leaders. Ms. Vega blends her social advocacy work with her academics, conducting social justice research with two Sociology professors. That research will help educators on- and off-campus understand perceptions of race and racism on our campus and in the greater Cortland community.
My name is Nia Vega, I am a Junior majoring in Sociology at SUNY Cortland with a concentration in Criminology and a minor in Computer Applications. As President of S.A.F.E.R (Students Active For Ending Rape), I am an advocator for those who are victims and survivors of sexual assault. We host a Take Back The Night event each semester to advocate for the end of sexual and domestic violence; additionally I am also President of M.O.V.E (Men Of Value and Excellence), where I work with men on campus to organize and foster a culture of wellness and leadership for men of color in our community.At the root of my praxis I begin by connecting with folks across the gender identity spectrum to address violence. This includes economic, racial, and gender/sexual - based violence. I achieve this through highlighting current event issues that educate club members and others in the community. I have previously assisted students across generations involving juniors and seniors in high school. I assure all concerns and opinions are considered to recognize everyone's perspective. Therefore, all voices can be heard in my pursuit of spreading awareness.