Student Secretary uses cultural experiences to lead

Tyler Betzwieser
Business Manager

mikey-manikMikey Bryant|The Hudsonian

Manik Elahi is the Student Senate secretary who holds his position in the Hudson Valley Student Senate in high regards.

“I don’t think of this as a college, I think of this as a community of likeminded people,” said Elahi.

Elahi is pursuing a degree in computer information systems along with being a part of various clubs and organizations on and off campus.

Elahi is the Vice President of the Foreign Language and Culture Club, President of the Public Speaking Club, Student Trustee, and secretary of the Student Senate and Director of Communications for the SUNY Student Assembly.

“I’m very interested in politics, so I would concede that I’m a political nerd,” said Elahi.

After discovering the Student Senate in the fall 2015 semester, Elahi liked the idea of having students represent the college. “I was very interested in the board ever since my first week on campus [because of] the idea that there is student representation on that board; we can actually be drivers of change.”

Elahi believes that senators should put forth an effort to contact constituents and take their perspective into consideration.

“Accountability and transparency lie with the representatives themselves. Do they make a conscious effort to talk to their constituents, and I think I’m doing that right now.”

Elahi believes his exposure to many different cultures has had a profound effect on his ability to lead.

“Moving around a lot adds to your experience because it creates layers of personality inside you, so that you can relate, understand and empathize with an array of different people,” said Elahi.

Elahi lived in Japan up until the age of six. The idea of culture shock is no new concept to him, due to the time he has spent in Japan, England, Pakistan, Sweden, Dubai and now the U.S.

Family, decisive, caring, opportunity, and passion are all words Elahi would use to describe himself. Elahi follows all of these principles in regards to his decision-making.

“I think long and hard before making any decisions,” said Elahi, who holds the authority to make decisions pertaining to student life on campus using his vote on the Senate.

“I think the work I’m in is fitting for me because I truly do care a lot about it,” he said.

Elahi feels opportunity and passion are very important parts of his life due to his upbringing. “My father was born to a low-income family, and he worked his way up. He’s always taught me to do the same. Whenever there is an opportunity, whenever you can do something fantastic, go for it.”

“My mom used to always tell me, do something that you are passionate about because if you’re not you’re just acting like a robot,” said Elahi.

An issue which sparks an interest in the Senator is the prevention of sexual assault. “One of the things that we see very often on campuses, and even a part of the presidential election cycle, is sexual assault.”

“It’s an important issue that’s negated from time to time, and it’s time that we understand that consent is when somebody is conscious. You need to make sure there is always consent to make sure you’re not infringing upon anyone’s personal space,” said Elahi.

Elahi, who continues to work to the best of his ability in all of his positions, hopes to remind students to show empathy towards others.

Elahi said, “Understand where they’re coming from and lastly make sure that you are accepting even if you might not agree.”

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