Interview with Luis Perez, Freshman, General Business, He/Him
by Lillie Ashton, Freshman, Early Childhood Education, She/Her
What personal experience or journey brought you into your current role at SUNY New Paltz?
My personal experience was knowing where I came from and wanting more for myself. I wanted something better for myself and knew that taking that next step and going to college would be the best option for me to escape my situation.
What issues or challenges are you confronted with?
While being here at New Paltz, I’m pretty far away from my family so I’ve been learning to become more independent and not have to rely on others. I’ve been focusing on myself but it’s been really hard being far away from family and not having that support system close to me.
Why do these challenges exist?
This relates back to the first question, but this challenge exists because I actively made that choice to move on and take that next step.
What challenges exist in the larger system?
In terms of SUNY New Paltz as a university, I would say one challenge that exists is struggling financially with having to pay for school as well as for books. And, this is all on top of having to work and focus on classes. You try to prioritize your classwork but at the same time you’re worried about how you are going to pay for it all just to continue at college.
What are the blockages?
I would say a blockage for me is not having all of my tuition covered. That ends up causing me stress and leads to lack of motivation. Overall it results in me not being as successful as I want to be.
What are your most important sources of success and change?
My most important sources of success and change are listening and learning from others. I need to learn what is best for me in my situation, figure out the cost and the benefits of every situation, then choose whichever choice is better for me.
What would a better (university or community) system look like for you?
A better community system for me would be more diverse. Even though New Paltz does have some diversity, it still has room to be so much more diverse. I just found out last semester that most of the halls on campus were actually originally named after slave owners. They only recently changed them about two or three years ago but it still shows just how much of a factor that things like slavery and segregation still have on our community and how it’s still affecting it.
If you could change just a few elements of the system, what would you change?
That goes back to what I was saying before about being more diverse. Including people who come from different backgrounds and overall bringing people together. It’s all about unity.
What initiative, if implemented, would have the greatest impact for you? For the system as a whole?
Since I’m part of a EOP group, I thankfully have an advisor that I could go to if I’m in any situation. If I need help, I have that guidance. I don’t have my parents up here for guidance, so my advisor has led me through college, so she has helped a lot so far.