MSiA Members from Across the College Gather at Student Wellness Retreat
By Layla Abdullah-Poulos ’10, graduate student, SUNY Empire State College; president, Minority Students in Action
May 14, 2015
The Student Wellness Retreat is offered by SUNY Empire State College to provide students the chance to come together, connect and recharge after a challenging year of studies. This year, members of the student group Minority Students in Action (MSiA) were treated to a small reception. “We are a collegewide organization,” explains club treasurer Melinda Wills-Stallings. “So it is important to take advantage of every opportunity to have members from all over New York State meet and strengthen solidarity.”
Reception attendees met their fellow MSiA members and also received an update on the club’s activities, future endeavors and college events from president Layla Abdullah-Poulos ’10, at right, and members Sandra Barkevich ‘13 and Jawana Richardson. “We try to keep all of our members well-informed through the MSiA webpage,” explains Abdullah-Poulos. “But it is nice to be able to meet face to face and let them know about the exciting strides we have made together.”
Members discussed various issues, including the desire to have more opportunities to meet. The club addressed topics such as maintaining lines of networking and collaboration with other SUNY Empire State College student clubs. There also were discussions about having events at various college locations. Abdullah-Poulos informed members, “Our recent SAF budgeting proposal includes funds to have events at different college locations, but we will need members at that location to be prepared to assist in making them happen.” Members indicated that they are ready for the task.
MSiA member and editor of The Student Connection, Sandra Barkevich, at left, described the benefits of submitting writing and creative works to the newsletter. Members also were told about the chance to become a staff writer for the publication.
The announcement that three of the 11 students selected to receive the 2015 SUNY Empire State College Student Service Award were Minority Students in Action Members was celebrated. Sandra Barkevich, Jawana Richardson and Melinda Wills-Stallings were all recognized for their multifaceted efforts to service their fellow SUNY Empire State College students and communities. “Sandra, Melinda and Jawana are fine examples of the dynamic members in the ranks of MSiA,” declares the club’s vice president E. Reginald Pope.
New members also were welcomed by the club, as guests completed registration forms. Since granted recognition as a SUNY Empire State College student club in 2014, Minority Students in Action’s membership has grown to over 80 registered members. “We welcomed more new members at the reception,” says Wills-Stallings. “We were also approached by retreat attendees, who asked for registration forms.”
MSiA members also were shown the club’s new t-shirts, which generated a lot of excitement. By the retreat’s end, there were many people donning the club’s tees including its members and supporters.
More than 30 members attended the Minority Students in Action Student Wellness Retreat Reception. Additional guests and passersby also joined the group as they built ties and solidified their commitment to help each other and fellow SUNY Empire State College students achieve academic success.
“On behalf of the Minority Students in Action Executive Board and members, I would like to thank Andy Binder for allowing us the rare opportunity to meet,” says Abdullah-Poulos. “Distance is always a challenge for us, and his support is greatly appreciated.”
Student Wellness Retreat 2015: The Benefits of a College Retreat, By Maria Koehle, student, SUNY Empire State College
Bling Your Cap Event at SUNY Empire State College, Brooklyn, Layla Abdullah-Poulos ‘10, graduate student, SUNY Empire State College; president, Minority Students in Action
From Crisis to Triumph: Men of Color, By Samantha Williams, student, SUNY Empire State College; assistant editor, The Student Connection
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