Senior Matthew Bower recently received the State University of New York Emerging Leader Award for Entrepreneurial Century, an honor bestowed upon students who have demonstrated significant leadership on their campus and in their community.
The Entrepreneurial Century award goes to students who have shown innovative business spirit. Robert Bonfiglio, vice president of student and campus life, gave Bower the opportunity to go to the Athgo Global Innovation Forum in summer 2011 after his sophomore year.
Bower and his teammates from two other colleges won second place at the forum with their idea for a mobile application called emPower, which allows energy users to track consumption and turn off appliances on the go. In addition, Bower won a $2,000 cash prize.
Bower is currently the chair of Activities Commission, assistant residence director of Dante Hall and Suffolk Hall, vice president of the Golden Key International Honour Society and a Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development mentor.
“I want to get the most out of my college experience as possible, which makes me want to get involved in a lot of things,” he said.
Bower said that he credits his psychology major and philosophy minor with shaping how he goes about his extracurricular experience. He said that psychology helps him focus on relationships and philosophy helps him think critically about important issues.
On a personal level, Bower said he is very passionate about human rights. He served as president of Amnesty International for two years and was a residence assistant and president of hall council in Putnam Hall.
Bower is also involved with the community as a member of the Livingston CARES board of directors. Livingston CARES is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that assists communities locally and globally through disaster relief and recovery efforts. Specifically, Bower has been a group leader on-site in Biloxi, Miss. for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and has helped with finances and advertising for the organization.
“I personally think this is a great organization because there is no over-head, and any money that is collected goes directly to the organization or relief efforts as opposed to the staff,” Bower said.
One of the accomplishments Bower said he is most proud of is First Knight, the event following the New Student Convocation in August. Bower spearheaded the event and collaborated with Geneseo faculty and Activities Commission members to make the First Knight a large-scale mixer with over 1,200 students in attendance.
“First Knight never happened to that extent before at Geneseo, but I know that it will continue to happen in the future,” he said.
Bower described his personal leadership vision as a two-way street. In hall council and Activities Commission, Bower said he is in awe of people who take on leadership positions in the various activities.
“Everything that I do is trying to strengthen the people I’m working with. It’s so incredibly rewarding,” Bower said.
Bower identified his own leadership role model as Tom Matthews, associate dean of leadership and service. He said Matthews has “challenged me to do more and greater things and take advantage of every opportunity.”