Interview by Mengjiao Huang, Visual Arts Major
with Lily Davidson, Visual Arts Education Major
What personal experience or journey brought you into your current role at or connected with SUNY New Paltz?
I came to SUNY New Paltz to become an art teacher and because I want to learn how to teach other students art. New Paltz is an-hour away from my house, and it is a nice campus.
What is your major?
My major is visual arts.
What issues or challenges are you confronted with?
I am not really used to this kind of area personally, so coming to an area away from family… I was so scared. So, it is very different to live on campus in comparison to living at home, I feel that everyone has that challenge. We all are learning to deal with it in our own way.
Why do these challenges exist?
Because it is not too far away, I can visit home. The drive there can be about three hours or so, which is not that bad in comparison to others.
What are the blockages? What are your most important sources of success and change?
I was not a very independent person, and sometimes I am not used to getting new things. I have very sweet people around me, but I still feel isolated. It is just more responsibilities than I took on before and I kind of like the feeling of that, in a way. Because I like being able to separate from being a child.
What would a better (university or community) system look like for you?
I think the school is pretty inclusive, like the inclusion of LGBTQ+, and asking their pronouns. In the first class, we are asked what we like, and we can get to know each other. I do think that is pretty nice.
What initiative, if implemented, would have the greatest impact for you? For the system as a whole?
I feel that it would be good if there was more talk about clubs. I can see there are posters everywhere, but I do not personally know many things about that. I just see that they exist. I do not really know how to join in, and there is something very confusing about how to go to get something. So, if there is more involvement or a little more advertisement for certain things, it will help people like me, or other people… especially the international students, who do not know the campus.
If you could change just a few elements of the system, what would you change?
On my first day here at New Paltz, it was very chaotic and there were bugs in my room and we got moved to a new room and it was eventually handled with… after my roommate and I sat there for around five hours. I did not really have a good moving in experience, so that already started me somewhat on a more anxious note. Sometimes, certain people do not answer emails, and I have to wait for a while, and I get very confused. The school is really nice, I love the scenery and their classes, but sometimes I just need someone to help guide me a little because I am a transfer here. I think we all deserve to be able to feel good about the direction we are headed, and I like how many of us work together to do so.