Nick Duell, a senior chemistry education major, will graduate this spring with a handful of good deeds and achievements under his belt.
Known to most as "RA Nick," this dog lover and Yankees fan is in many ways a regular college guy, but he has achieved more than most have over these past three years; he doesn't hesitate when it comes to helping others and sharing his selflessness.
"I always have to be doing something that I feel a sense of accomplishment from, whether it be [Geneseo First Response] or [being] a tour guide or an RA. I want to be appreciated," Duell said.
Duell first exercised his leadership as president of the class of 2011 during his freshman and sophomore years. As president, Duell said he "tried a lot of radical things" that ended up working out for the better. He said his greatest achievement as president was the re-implementation of the position of "class captain" in the student government.
"The class captains are a pool of people who can help students get what they want as a class," Duell said, adding that because the class governments have less funding than the Student Association, the class officers naturally have less power. Duell helped to bring focus back to the class officers so that they feel they've accomplished something upon graduating.
"I had to resign from the presidency in junior year, only because I had a heavy course load … nothing scandalous," he said. He has, however, immersed himself in many other activities over the past few years including GFR. As a member of GFR, Duell has served as both a captain and a lieutenant; he currently serves as an attendant.
"As a captain I was in charge of a third of the squad, I handled things like attendance at meetings and making sure the truck was okay and all of the necessary equipment was there," Duell said. He also gave some advice for any aspiring members of GFR: "Don't think just because you're not going pre-med or know nothing about emergency medicine that you shouldn't apply."
Of all his activities, Duell said that being a resident assistant has by far been his favorite; he said it has been the most influential position he could have taken at Geneseo. Since his sophomore year, Duell has served students both older and younger than him in Jones, Wyoming and now Onondaga Hall. He said that the position has prepared him well for his planned career in education.
"I wish that classes didn't exist and this was all I did," Duell said. "I would love to just do this. In fact, I would do this if I didn't get paid." He added, "Even if I didn't have this title, I would be the same type of person in the building, serving as a resource. If I'm going to be a teacher in a year, this is a great job. [I'm] not just a teacher, but also a mentor."
Duell said that the No. 1 responsibility of an RA is to be approachable. "What's expected of an RA should be expected of everyone," he said.
According to Duell, the connection that RAs share and the friendships that can be made simply by joining the residence life staff can last a lifetime. "But," he added, "this job is not for everyone. It's definitely required to be a people person. You earn much more from this position in experience than you do in money."
"I feel very comfortable at Geneseo; there are many diverse viewpoints that just make [it] a better place and home for everyone," Duell said.
Duell's education here, though, is coming to a close. What's next on his journey? He plans to graduate with a degree in chemistry and intends to student teach next year in order to earn his education degree. After that, Duell plans to always continue mentoring and assisting people. Whether it be solving a chemistry problem or unlocking a resident's door, Duell will always be ready with a helping hand.