Senior Convocation Speaker Letters of Intent

The Senior Convocation Speaker will speak for approximately 6 minutes at May Convocation. Please review the two candidates below to hear of the theme of their intended speech.

Brian Busby

Teagan Dolan


Senior Class Gift Options (pick your top choice)

To be voted on only by current seniors

Option 1: ESF Habitat Garden for Biodiversity and Wild Edibles

Description: This landscaping project was designed with several student groups, ESF staff and ESF Faculty. It includes a mix of native plants laid out in several distinct habitats: (1) a large native wildflower area for the endangered monarch butterfly, (2) a blueberry and huckleberry patch, (3) a mini-bird sanctuary and (4) an edible forest garden with fruiting and nuttrees like pawpaw,serviceberries and hazelnuts. It willbe located behind Marshall and Jahn. Money would go towards funding this project and a small plaque recognizing it as the class gift.

Option 2: Repairing the Marshall Hall Clock

Description: The clock on the front of Marshall Hall was once a senior class gift and has fallen into disrepair. Money would go towards repairing the clock to put it back into operation and towards a small plaque recognizing it as the class gift.

Option 3: Additional/New Bike Racks

Description: This would fund additional or new bike racks to be strategically placed around campus.

Option 4: New Nifkin Lounge Furniture

Description: This would fund some updated and easily rearrangeable furniture to be placed in Nifkin Lounge.

Option 5: Set of Flags for the Gateway Center

Description: This would fund a set of flags and flagstands for Gateway to be used for events. The flags would be United States, New York State, and ESF. They can also be outfitted with a plaque denoting it as the senior class gift.


Undergraduate Student Association (USA) Letters of Intent - 2015-16

Click here to view USA's new Bylaws and Position Duties

1. President (one winner)

Margaret Foley

Greetings, Mighty Oaks!

My name is Margaret Foley, and I am currently a junior Environmental Biology major. I am writing this letter of intent to run for Undergraduate Student Association President for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year.

From my first days at ESF I knew that I wanted to participate in USA. As a freshman I filled the role of a Freshmen Class Senator, which entailed helping my fellow senators plan a successful class mixer, while also serving on both the Campus Life and Earth Week Committees. For the past two years I have served as Director of Campus Life. During my time as Director, I headed the remodeling of Bray Space, a 24/7 student space in the basement of Bray Hall. My committee and I also implemented a number of surveys to gauge student opinions about a variety of campus issues.

In the past year I have worked diligently to help improve our school, through such efforts as serving on the Communications Taskforce. In addition, I have played an active role in USA’s internal restructuring by serving on the taskforces focusing on the changes of the USA Bylaws and Finance Codes. I have also served as the EFB representative on the Provost’s Student Advisory Council and as the only undergraduate student representative on the Strategic Planning Undergraduate Experience Committee. My experiences with these groups have taught me how to effectively interface with College administration, as well as how to serve as an agent of positive change within the ESF community.

I am confident that my experiences as an active member of USA and as a Resident Assistant at Centennial Hall have more than sufficiently prepared me to serve as USA President. Through both roles I have had the opportunity not only to work with a large portion of the undergraduate population, but a variety of ESF faculty and staff as well. Both positions have given me a clear understanding of the resources available on campus, as well as the challenges that the school and its undergraduate population are currently facing. If elected President, I will use these experiences to inform any important decisions I must make and to steer the efforts of USA so that we are most effectively serving the student body.

In the past year, strategic planning and budget concerns have forced our school to evolve, and evolve quickly. Unfortunately, as a result of this rapid change, students have gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle. As important members of this school, it is important that we are informed on the changes being made, and that our opinions and concerns are heard and considered. As USA President I would strive not only to increase communication between the administration and student population on these hot topics, but to increase the amount of student participation in these important discussions.

It would be an honor to serve as your Undergraduate Student Association’s President during the upcoming school year. I would love the opportunity to continue to give back to the ESF community through USA. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.




Derrick Rice

Hello everyone! My name is Derrick Rice; I am a freshman in the Environmental Studies Program and currently serve as the Freshman Class Chair of the SUNY-ESF Undergraduate Student Association (USA). I am very excited to announce that I am running for the position of President of USA.

As a student at ESF and member of USA, I’ve been granted an awesome opportunity of listening and engaging in dialogue with my fellow students. In addition, I have served as a representative on the Faculty Governance Student Life Committee, and as a student representative in the Strategic Planning Conferences. Both of these experiences have allowed me to understand and communicate the needs and concerns of the student body to ESF Faculty and Administration.

In the near future of USA, our student government needs a new voice that communicates effectively and works consistently with our students, faculty, administration, and colleagues at Syracuse University. The only possibility for our success stems from collaboration, and I intend to work towards this as President. Part of my agenda includes:

  • Building a structure between USA and the undergraduate body that fosters student activism
  • Developing a grant sponsored by USA to serve the pre-professional needs of students
  • Working with the administration to help meet the needs of non-traditional and underrepresented students

I hope you feel how strongly I believe in our potential as a student body. As a student who loves ESF and what it stands for, I hope you share my sentiment in wanting to advocate for the students of ESF and improve our world. Together we can break barriers, and I ask you to join me in taking the first step by electing me as your Student Association President. #UnifyESF


Derrick Rice Jr.

2. Vice President (one winner)

Brendan McCormack

Students of SUNY ESF:

            My name is Brendan McCormack and I am a junior, rising senior, in Environmental Science with a focus on Renewable Energy. I am currently running for the position of Vice President within the Undergraduate Student Association (USA). I would like this position so that I can further become involved in the ESF Community and be in constant communication with all of the great clubs we have here on campus.

            As an Orientation Leader, and recently a Head Orientation Leader, as well as a member of the First Year Experience Mentoring Program, I understand how important it is to be involved in this great community here at ESF. I look to maintain a great working relationship with all students, the clubs and their representatives, as well as further represent the interests of the student body via USA.

            While also being involved on campus, being a part of USA for two years, I have very good personal and professional relationship with many students and faculty. I also maintain good connections with current and upcoming club representatives for USA, thus making interacting and working with them very easy as Vice President.

            I would be very excited and willing to fulfill all the obligations as the Vice President, and would be honored to represent the undergraduate students at this level. It is my hope that you, the ESF community, find me fit to hold this position.

Thank you for your time and have a wonderful day.

Brendan McCormack

SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
Undergraduate, Environmental Science Class of 2016


Ben Taylor

Dear SUNY-ESF Student Body,

            My name is Ben Taylor, and I am running for Vice President of the Undergraduate Student Association (USA). I am a first-year in Environmental Resources Engineering, and currently a class senator in USA. As senator, I have become passionately involved here at ESF, serving on multiple committees, most notably the Strategic Planning Organization committee this spring. Through the club Engineers Without Borders, I organized our fall fundraiser, Burritos Without Borders, which developed my leadership and planning skills. I am also ecstatic to take on the role of Orientation Leader this August to continue to learn and lead.

            Because of these experiences, I am equipped to serve as the Vice President of USA. I am able to communicate effectively, listen, and engage in meaningful conversation about the core issues. My passion for this school will allow me to connect and serve in many new ways. I am excited to explore and further define the role of the Vice President, as club relation manager and parliamentarian.

            ESF is an amazing place. The driving force behind my campaign is my desire to see students learn and grow together. As Vice President, I will advocate for the student body and student organizations in every way. I will be available, by holding weekly office hours. I will step in and make things happen. I will always make educated decisions on what would be best for the students. Sometimes the “behind-the-scenes” is a complicated place, but I am willing to dive in and do what it takes to secure a present and future atmosphere of excellence at ESF.  I look forward to serving the student body!  #UnifyESF

Thank you,

Ben Taylor

3. Chief Financial Officer (Treasurer) (one winner)

Chris Maldonado

Dear ESF community,

My name is Christopher Maldonado, and I am pursuing the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Undergraduate Student Association (USA) for the 2015-2016 academic year. I am a junior majoring in Environmental Biology and minoring in Urban Forestry. As a non-traditional, out-of-state transfer student, a Resident Assistant at Centennial Hall, and a current member of USA’s Finance Board, I feel that I have the experience necessary to provide  fair, sensible, and efficient oversight  to the financial aspect of USA and its counterparts.

Throughout this academic year, I have been involved in a multitude of financial recommendations as a Finance Board member. I joined the Finance Board to serve  the best interests of both USA and the ESF student body, with a focused, unbiased, and budget-conscience  view. I suggested recommendations for fund distribution  based on established USA financial codes and the personal understanding of each proposal. After working closely with the members of this year’s Finance Board and the current Treasurer, I am excited to  benefit the future of USA by bringing past work experience and a unique perspective to monetary decisions.

With more than four years of experience in cashiering, supervising, and program organization and execution, I will bring  the CFO position the diligence and consistent adaptability it needs. With your vote, I hope to grow with this position over the next academic year, providing as much experience as I can to  benefit USA and, more importantly, the ESF student body through the responsible and effective use of funding.

Thank you for your time and consideration. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Christopher Maldonado

4. Secretary (one winner)

Savy Kep

Hello everyone! My name is Savy Kep and I will be a sophomore in the LA program in the fall. I would like to run for the USA secretary position because I feel it would allow me to be more connected to everyone in USA. Also, Ibelieve it wouldhelp me be more involvedin learning about the campus on-goings and the community, which I enjoy.I am organized and a responsible person so I feel I am able to accomplish the secretary duties well. Thank you for your consideration.

Thank You,

Savy Kep

5. Board of Trustees Representative (one winner)

Sam Earl

Students of ESF,

            My name is Sam Earl, a junior studying environmental biology in hopes of becoming the Undergraduate Board of Trustees Representative. I have been a part of USA for one year and was previously a sophomore class senator. In 2012, I presented the idea of adding recycle bins to the YMCA camp grounds to the Board of Directors. I worked closely with the YMCA executive director who then invited me to serve on the board as a youth representative. I intend to further my experience serving on executive boards, voice the student opinion to its fullest on the executive level, and provide insight to students as to what is happening on campus as it plays an influential part in the decision-making process.

Yours truly,

Sam Earl


Erika Sykes

Hello, my name is Erika Sykes and I am a current sophomore studying Paper Engineering. I am running for Board of Trustees (BOT) Representative because I believe that I would be able to successfully fill the role of: attending BOT meetings to represent students, be a lesion between GSA and USA, present information discussed in the BOT meetings back to USA, and organize an open forum between the President and the students. In the past I have served as a Freshmen Class Senator and Programming Co- Chair. I have been an active participant in USA and believe this is crucial to the role to be able to effectively relay information. Being well informed on issues concerning the school is important for the student body to be aware of.

I always believed that even though we are only here for 4 (sometimes more or less) years of our lives, we get involved because we love ESF and we want the people after us to have as great or better experience than we had.

Vote for me, and I’ll vote for you (the student body)!

Thank You!

6. Co-Coordinators of Recurrent Programs (2 positions)

Taylor Della Rocco

Dear Undergraduate Student Association,

            My name is Taylor Della Rocco, and I would like to run for Programing Co-chair for this coming year. I have been involved in USA since my freshmen year and sadly due to having other commitments during meeting times this year I have not been able to make it to many meetings. I try my best to make it to as many functions as possible and be involved as much as I can.

I believe that this would be a good position for me because I really like being involved in USA. I have been on the Spring Banquet and December Soirée committees for the last three years, and have gone to or participated in almost every Morning Munch and TGIF in the last three years. I believe these activities give me a good background of knowledge of how the functions work and are run. I would love to have the position and work alongside with another wonderful ESF student who loves this school and community as much as I do. 

Thank you  

Taylor Della Rocco


Jessica Emmerson

Hello fellow students,

My name is Jessica Emmerson and I am a part of the class of 2018 in the environmental resources engineering department. I am interested in fulfilling the position of coordinator of recurrent programs for the 2015-2016 school year. I understand that this requires me to plan morning munches, bread distribution, TGs and stress free zones. I am currently a curriculum senator for the ERE department and I wish to become more involved in the planning of events on campus. I believe that my organization and time management skills will allow me to successfully fulfill this position. I also believe that my enthusiasm for bringing our campus together (and free food) will help make each of these events a success. I have discussed the position in detail with the current programming chairs and fully understand the amount of responsibly and the time commitment that comes with the position.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Jessica Emmerson


7. ESF/SU Liaison (two winners)

James Longo

Dear ESF Student Body,

My name is James Longo and I am running for the SU/ESF liaison position for the Undergraduate Student Association. I am a freshman in the Wildlife Science Program, and I am very interested fostering a more positive relationship between ESF and SU. I’m involved with SU in multiple ways, as I am a part of the SU Wrestling team and the SU Triathlon team, which I believe makes me uniquely qualified for this position.

The relationship between ESF and SU is a core part of the ESF Experience for so many students, so anything that I can do to help solidify the relationship between ESF and SU interests me. The multitude of resources that SU provides makes ESF complete for me, because although we are part of a small public school, we get all the benefits of our neighboring large private school. Many of my closest friends go to Syracuse University, and sometimes they express negative sentiments about ESF students, something that I attribute to misunderstanding, which is something that I believe can be drastically improved. As liaison it will be my mission to promote and solidify the relation that ESF has with our sister institution Syracuse University. #UnifyESF

Thank you,

James Longo

Katie Oran

Dear ESF Student Body,

My name is Katie Oran and I am running for the position of SU/ESF liaison of the Undergraduate Student Association. I am a first year Environmental Studies major from Los Angeles, California. I am currently the News Editor for The Knothole, and I am a contributing writer for The Daily Orange at Syracuse University. I pride myself on being a strong student advocate, as I serve in the role of co-president in the Divest ESF club and as a member of Divest SU. I have been involved in discussions and meetings at both schools, in consideration of how we will foster an inclusive and participatory student government that takes the ideas and opinions of the student body into account in all decision-making.

            I believe that we must continue to foster a close relationship with Syracuse University and the diverse students and opportunities that lie just across campus. We have access to immense resources including Syracuse University clubs and athletics, library collections, and course options that would be unavailable to us without the support of SU. 

            In the past I have worked with elected officials to create positive change in my community, and I am dedicated to working with the ESF and SU administrations to create an open community that considers every student voice as a valuable asset in the decision-making process. I encourage you to elect me as your ESF/SU Liaison, and together we can form a brighter future for ESF and SU students alike! #UnifyESF

Thank you,

Katie Oran

8. Senior Class Chair (one winner)

Daniel Tighe

Dear Fellow Students,

I truly hope that you all had a fulfilling school year. My name is Daniel Tighe, and I am running for Junior Class Chair during the Spring 2015 elections.  I have represented the class of 2016 as chair for two semesters now, coordinating such events as winter award distribution, spring award distribution, and a class mixer. I was born and raised in a city south of Boston, MA. I’ve been employed by the YMCA since I was 15, and this past summer was promoted as the Assistant Director of Summer Camp and Outdoor Education. I have gained countless leadership skills throughout my time at the Y, which I feel qualify me to be your senior class chair. My debate skills have led me to speak at the Massachusetts State House, at the same podium that John F. Kennedy once stood. During high school, I received the “Youth of the Year” award because I averaged approximately 120 hours of volunteer work per year during high school. My passion for community service is something that I would love to share with the student body here at ESF.

During my freshman and sophomore years at ESF I have participated in the Emerging Leaders program, been an orientation leader, was a member of the Undergraduate Student Association as a senator, and was a co-chair for the 2014 Earth Week. As co-chair of Earth week, my responsibilities included event planning, budgeting, and schedule organization – all skills that qualify me to be your senior class chair. I hope that my involvement in these programs clearly expresses my love for ESF, and all of its students. I look at this position simply as a voice of the students; a voice to make a difference by promoting the wants and needs of you all. At ESF, YOU have a voice!

Yours truly,

Daniel J Tighe

9. Senior Class Senators (up to five per class)

Lia Heintjes


I am interested in running as a senior senator, representing the Class of 2016 within our student government. I believe that I am qualified to be a class senator because my previous experiences as freshman, sophomore, and junior senators. These years of experience have helped me become aware of the various duties and responsibilities needed of a senator, and I feel that I am qualified with leadership skills that a Class Senator ought to have. I am comfortable interacting with new people, and concerned about the interests and welfare of those around me. I care whether other people are happy, and in doing so, ensure that I am capable of performing tasks and planning events in my peers’ best interests at heart.

Beyond interacting with people in general, I also feel that I connect with the other students in my year, allowing me to voice their opinions during USA meetings and including student feedback when making choices that would affect my class. I hope these things make me seem eligible to be elected for another great year of membership within our Undergraduate Student Association.


Lia Heintjes

B.S. Biotechnology, minor in Environmental Biology
SUNY-ESF Class of 2016


Fareya Zubair

Dear Class of 2016 and SUNY-ESF,

My name is Fareya Zubair and I would love the opportunity to represent the senior class as senior class senator. I am a Biotechnology student and currently a junior class senator. I love hearing about what you have to say about ESF, your concerns, complaints, and compliments about the school! If given this opportunity, I will try to represent the student voice to the best of my ability! Thank you for your time.


Fareya Zubair


Nicholas Manzione

To whom it many concern,

My name is Nicholas Manzione and currently I am a junior in the Environmental Science major. I've been a part of USA for the last 3 years, mostly working with my class as a senator. I want to continue to retain my position as a class senator, as I know the job very well and I have offered well thought out ideas and help to the class chair as well as the committees that I have served on. I enjoy my position and I like being to hear out my fellow classmates for the last 3 years. I want to continue my tenure as a senior class senator for next year as well.

- Nick Manzione

10. Environmental Studies Curriculum Senator (up to two per curriculum)

Emily Fusco

Hello everyone!

My name is Emily Fusco and I would like to run for the position of Environmental Studies Curriculum senator. I am currently a freshman senator in USA. I think being the Environmental Studies Curriculum senator is the next step!

Thank you,

Emily Fusco


11. Environmental Science Curriculum Senator (up to two per curriculum)

Rudolph Hanz

Dear Undergraduate Student Association,


I am Rudolf Hanz (Rudi) and I am running for the Environmental Science Division Representative. I will be a Senior in the Environmental Analysis option area. I would like to help the Environmental Science Division and the greater school community. I am frequently in communication and have a great working relationship with Dr. Briggs, Division Director, and Ann Moore who is the staff assistant.

            I have been Vice President for the Alchemists Society and will be president next year. I understand that communication is important between students and that when there is a student that can effectively communicate with professors and staff at the university, a lot more can be accomplished. I also experienced this in the first college restructuring meeting. At the meeting, I was the only undergraduate there. They respected someone who had made the time to meet with them and give them an honest opinion. I would like to continue this by liaising for the Environmental Science students at USA meetings.

            By being representative for the division, I hope to create an atmosphere where communication between students, USA, and faculty and staff are greatly improved.


Rudi Hanz


12. Environmental Forest Biology Curriculum Senator (up to two per curriculum)

Terrance Caviness

My name is Terrance Caviness (TC), and I am running for the EFB curriculum senator.  I will be a junior in Environmental Biology in the fall and served as the EFB Curriculum senator this past year. I am also head layout editor for the Knothole and was an Orientation Leader.  I, along with the other senator, worked to plan the EFB curriculum mixer this spring.  I also attended the weekly USA meetings to represent the EFB department. I really enjoyed the position and would love to continue to fulfill the duties of the position again this upcoming year.



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