USA President Focuses on Building Relationships
Ben Taylor leads 'growth year' for student government
Posted March 2017
Ben Taylor has lunch with a different person every Wednesday. As president of the Undergraduate Student Association at ESF, he wants to build relationships with people in the community.
Taylor, a junior at ESF, knew he wanted to attend a school where he would have opportunities for leadership and service, and to build close relationships within the community. ESF has always been on his radar: Taylor's father, Steven Taylor, is a member of the Class of 1992.
Growing up in Panama, New York, just south of Buffalo, Taylor spent his a lot of time hunting, skiing and doing yard work. His love of nature, combined with his fascination with building "contraptions," led him to major in environmental resources engineering, the same field his father studied.
As an active participant in many high school activities, Taylor was looking forward to exercising his leadership skills at ESF. During his first semester on campus, he became a first-year class senator in USA. He planned a freshman class mixer, but only 12 people showed up. That didn't deter him; he wanted to become even more involved in USA. Taylor decided at the end of his freshman year that he would run for vice president.
He was elected and later called his time as vice president a "growth year" for the association. Roles for some officers, such as chief communications officer and chief financial officer, were formalized. USA leaders updated the bylaws and constitution, lengthened meetings and hosted a resolution-writing workshop. Taylor attributed this progress to having a lot of passionate people involved, and he said this inspired him to run for president.
"This role requires me to be accessible on campus a lot," Taylor said. "But it is also a privilege and a deep honor that I have, to be representative of the students on the campus to basically everybody outside of ESF."
This year, more people -- 50 to 60 -- attend the weekly, 90-minute USA meetings. Taylor said the increase in attendance is one of the accomplishments he is most proud of this semester.
"I think that people genuinely enjoy being at USA meetings," Taylor said. "We keep them moving, there is a lot of information and a lot of opportunity for people to step up and get involved."
Under his presidency, Taylor said the student association is fun, open and accessible for students. USA is exploring initiatives that include increasing campus accessibility, renovating Alumni (Nifkin) Lounge, developing a sexual assault awareness program and developing ESFgo, an app that aims to be the hub of student information on campus.
The student association is also working on an energy-saving initiative to reduce elevator and handicap-accessible door usage on campus. Each time someone rides in an elevator, it costs about 25 cents' worth of electricity, Taylor said. The campaign encourages students to take the stairs because it is better for their health and for the earth.
Watching students work together on initiatives to better the campus is one of the reasons Taylor wanted to be part of USA.
"I love seeing a group of people get together and do something that they are passionate about," Taylor said. "At ESF, the student association is passionate about ESF students and what ESF students care about. Anything we do is all around, 'Is this decision the best for ESF students?'"
In addition to his work with USA, Taylor serves on a leadership council alongside ESF President Quentin Wheeler and other members of the College leadership team, and holds a work-study job at the Computing and Network Services HelpDesk. He has also served as an orientation leader since his sophomore year.
Over breaks, Taylor maintains a demanding schedule by working on his great-uncle's maple farm - a 17,000-tap maple syrup operation called Merle Maple in Attica, New York. He is the sixth generation of his family to work in the business and said he is interested in working on the farm when he graduates. He aspires to take over the business one day. On campus, Taylor is known as the "maple guy."
"It's kind of my thing," Taylor said of his nickname.
Taylor is minoring in management and hopes to put that knowledge toward running the maple farm.
He credits his ability to be involved with extracurricular activities while remaining focused on school to the many scholarships he has received, including ESF's Presidential Scholarship.
"The ESF scholarship has significantly helped me with being able to attend ESF," Taylor said. "Because of my scholarships I have been able to stress less about finances and work less on campus, which is why I can dedicate more time and energy to ESF students."
To budget his time, Taylor separates his life into four areas that are important to him: school, church, his work at CNS and his involvement with USA.
"Everything that I do pretty much goes into those four categories," Taylor said, "I try not to say yes to anything outside of those."
Taylor also keeps a strict calendar and to-do list. He wakes up at 6 a.m. on weekdays to have coffee, a good breakfast and time to be technology-free before he dives into the day's work.
Since the fall of his sophomore year, Taylor has set aside a 24-hour period each week in which he doesn't do homework or make any plans. To carve out that free time, Taylor said he works hard during the week.
"I have everything done for Monday by Saturday. And that really transforms your week," Taylor said. "My Mondays are better, and when your Mondays are good, your week is good."
- By Taylor Watson, SU '19
ESF Students Make their Mark
- Waste not, want notGrant Received for 3D printer filament recycling, production pilot plant
- Landscape Architecture Students Celebrate PARK(ing) DayTransformation of parking spaces calls attention to need for urban greenspace
- ESF, Ichor Therapeutics Team Up to Combat Age-related Illness ESF graduate students to assist with research
- Society of American Foresters Plays Key Role in Student’s ESF ExperienceRecent grad Alexa Denhoff encourages students to join professional society
- ESF Student Wins at COINS Grand ChallengeAward recognizes innovation in construction management
- ESF Students Return from Puerto Rico Students joined with SUNY, NYS, non-profits organizations to help rebuild Puerto Rico
- Mortarboards Fly and Students Become AlumniClass of 2018 celebrates achievements
- Chemistry Student Wins AwardJordan Pitt recognized by the American Chemical Society
- 14 ESF Students Set for Volunteer Work in Puerto RicoCollege joins SUNY, NY effort to support recovery efforts
- ESF Announces Commencement Weekend ActivitiesNumerous events celebrate students’ achievements
- Chemistry Graduate Student Wins AwardYuting Zhu honored by American Chemical Society
- Hello, Mr. President — About the Environment…ESF students pen Earth Day ‘elevator speeches’ for Donald Trump
- Two ESF Students Honored with Chancellor's AwardJet Lewis and Ben Taylor receive prestigious awards
- 3 ESF Students among Winners at SU RvD iPrize CompetitionFarm to Flame, Food for Community move on to state competition
- Smile! You’re On Canid CameraESF researcher seeks citizen scientists to help ID photos from trail cameras
- Acorns to Action Strives to Help Victims of Natural DisastersESF students focus on providing resources, knowledge to rebuild sustainably
- ESF Student Part of First-Place Team in Hult Prize CompetitionSayje Lasenberry is member of Farm to Flame Energy team
- Zachary Smith's Commencement SpeechEnvironmental studies major was chosen as student speaker
- Senior Accomplishes Goal: ‘Publish in a Journal’Environmental health major co-authors paper about discovery linked to fighting cancer
- ESF Students Participate in SEA Semester ProgramEFB majors set sail in the Atlantic Ocean
- Class of '17 Joins ESF Alumni RanksDegrees and ESF flags in hand, graduates celebrate accomplishments
- Chemistry Student Wins AwardGraduating senior Curtis Wilhelmsen recognized by environmental division of the American Chemical Society
- ESF Announces Commencement Weekend ActivitiesNumerous events celebrate students’ achievements
- ERE Major Builds Lengthy Resume at ESFTight-knit community, real-world experience made college stand out
- ESF Students Win StoryFest CompetitionTop prize is trip to Brazilian Rainforest for storytelling expedition
- Student from Nepal Finds Her Niche at ESFJyotika ‘Nicci’ Shah plans career in water quality
- ESF Education a Family Affair for Schiavone BrothersThree siblings share a major and a graduation date
- ESF Nordic Skier Competes in World University GamesConducts study on perfluorocarbons between races
- Academics, Athletics, Affordability Lure Soccer Captain to ESFHeather Carl makes her mark on campus
- Daily Adventures Mark Trip to South AmericaRosen Fellowship funds experience of a lifetime
- Student from Italy Finds Motivation at ESF"Here I am constantly pushed to do more"
- Walk on the Wild SideFellowship Funds Trip to South Africa
- USA President Focuses on Building RelationshipsBen Taylor leads 'growth year' for student government
- ESF Junior Honored as 'Unsung Hero'Shewa Shwani to receive award at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
- ‘Jet’ Lewis Builds Busy Life as ESF SophomoreCalifornia resident says diverse ideologies made ESF stand out
- Dedication to Environment Brings Student to ESF from Mexico'There is no other place like ESF,' freshman says
- Beer Eases Final Moments for Euthanized InvertebratesGraduate student seeks humane method for ending lives of research subjects
- ERE Major Tackles Wastewater Plan in IcelandFink Fellowship Supports Summer Abroad
- 44 ESF Students Spend Summer as DEC Interns‘Phenomenal’ range of work can help launch careers
- Paper Engineering Boosts Student through Semester AbroadGraduate-level classes and travel highlight trip to Germany
- ESF Alumnus Begins Peace Corps Service Caleb Rudge to spend two years in Paraguay
- Dream Becomes Reality for ESF SeniorRosen Fellowship supports summer internship in Stockholm
- Summer on the FarmFink Fellowship sends ESF junior to work on Thousand Islands farm
- SRC Fellowship Supports Student in Battle against Mosquitoes Chemical compound could help stop spread of disease
- ESF Landscape Architecture Students Receive ASLA HonorsHonor and merit certificates presented
- ESF Student Finalist for Olmsted Scholar AwardKathryn Chesebrough recognized for academic excellence
- ESF Graduate Joins Teach for America Peter LeDuc finds passion for teaching at ESF
- Advice for Graduates: Stay United, 'Enjoy Your Wisdom'Class of 2016 celebrates at Commencement
- Two ESF Students Earn SUNY Chancellor’s AwardFoley, Zubair honored for excellence
- Closed-Loop Art: Woodburner Uses Material at HandSenior donates artwork to Student Showcase Symposium
- Honors Student Works with 'Best Thing Ever': ElephantsTravel takes Yvonne Lim to Elephant Nature Park in Thailand
- ESF Ph.D. Student Selected as Junior Fellow in Korea
- The Cheer Fun of ItESF student leads SU cheer team
- Ph.D. Student Appointed to Federal Advisory PanelYang joins National Coal Council
- ‘Great Experience’ Takes Grad Student to BulgariaMLA student spends summer monitoring primitive horse population
- ESF Senior Wins Fulbright Research AwardGabriel Smith heads to Sweden to study fungi
- ESF Grad Student Awarded Rare Book School ScholarshipProgram delves into history of hand papermaking
- ESF Senior Honored at National STEM ConferenceCSTEP student Danielle Berry wins second place for poster
- Meghan JohnstoneTraveler in Australia, Nature Conservancy Intern
- Michael AmadoriAquaponics Research
- Ryan HenrySU's biggest sports fan.
- Lauren AlteioHarvard Forest Program
- Brookhaven National Laboratory InternsCourtney Buckley, Daniel Larkin, Michael Norman and Beverly Agtuca
- Brendan-Michael Galloway Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship
- Lynne BeattyMarine resources workshop participant
- Kristen AnthonyLandscape Architecture student, and SU competitive skier
- Craig LazzarEssay Contest nets ESF Senior $10,000
- Zachary KingBiotechnology Researcher
- Daniele BakerSUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence Recipient
- Greg BoydESF Senior, biodiesel expert
- Khristopher DodsonPublisher of Envi magazine
- Cara StaffordInvasive Plant Technician, Catalina Island
- Irony SadeBiotechnology Major
- April Karen BaptistePh.D. Candidate, Fulbright scholar, ESF
- Leah Dudziak & Lisa RuggeroTwo ESF Students on SU Dance Team