Senior Will Labate, Student Association director of student affairs, has become as easily recognizable as the "Seuss Spruce," a testimony to his vitality to the college community.
We've all received e-mails signed with his name, watched him run around at events like the Multicultural Dinner and seen his name posted outside of the SA office in the Union.
Labate is indisputably immersed in the Geneseo community, and he has made quite a name for himself in the process of becoming so. "I actually didn't know what direction I would go freshman year. I didn't even start testing the waters until I did hall council," he said. "But then I started acclimating, and the more I got involved on campus, the more I knew that I had made the right decision and where I needed to go from there."
Along with a mouthful-of-a-title in SA, he serves on the Geneseo First Response board of directors and actively participates in Model United Nations – he won Best Delegate at a conference in January. He has been a resident assistant for three years.
"I kind of take a broad interest in things; I don't just focus on one thing at a time," Labate said. "Yes, I'm very busy, but it's all things that I enjoy doing. I never feel like I'm actually working."
Labate has carried the interests he discovered in college into his professional life. Two years ago, he completed an internship at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City, working among the people who make decisions that affect world politics.
"Model U.N. was always important to me. That's pretty much where I learned that this type of work was the right path for me," he said. "And then seeing the U.N., the world body actually at work – it was beyond incredible."
This passion gave Labate the drive to organize the budget advocacy trip to Albany on Tuesday, an event he considers to represent the culmination of his tenure as director of student affairs. "SUNY is not just another department of the state that can be cut," he said. "[State politicians] don't see everything that we see, everything going on at the personal level of these changes."
Immersing yourself in the campus certainly makes the collegiate experience more pleasant, but it also makes the time fly by more quickly. With half a semester left before graduation, Labate is caught in the limbo between an impatience to leave and a desperate desire to stay.
"I'm really going to miss Geneseo when I graduate, a lot. It's a place that has given me so much over the years. I think that it'll always be in the back of my mind."