“We Are UC” highlights the people who thread the fabric of the Utica College community. These profiles are written from the perspective of the subjects themselves.
Story by Whitney Morris, photo provided by Kendal Santiago
My name is Kendal Santiago, and I am from Harlem. I am majoring in communications and media with a concentration in social justice. I chose Utica College because they gave me the most financial aid; I’m a first-generation college student, so all I knew about school was how expensive it was and that I should take whatever I can get.
I’ve remained involved on campus since my freshman year starting with the Black Student Union (BSU), where I am now the vice president. I’ve been a programing intern for the Womyn’s Resource Center (WRC) since I was a sophomore, and this year I joined Student Senate as a residential senator .
I joined BSU because I’m black, and I want to make a difference within the black community so why not do it with a group of people who share the same passion and ideas as myself. I joined WRC because I would be able to do even more. In addition to the networking aspects, through WRC, I’m able to actually do the things I want to do because I have the financial support. I joined Student Senate because I feel students should have a say in what goes on. All decisions shouldn’t be left up to the administration because there is a generational gap, and this position gives me the opportunity to be a voice for my peers.
Throughout my experience here, I’m happy with the woman that I’m becoming, so in this aspect I’m happy here, but I think I could’ve had a better social experience somewhere else.
When it comes to time management, I make time for things that I’m passionate about. These things happen to be the work I do for WRC and BSU, which means that my grades tend to suffer. I believe that my grades suffer for good reason, but I also wish that my department geared their teaching towards a more individual level as opposed to generalized teaching. In this case, I would be more passionate about my degree.
As far as my future goes, I know that I want to help people. One day I will start my own nonprofit organization which will be education-based and focused on at-risk youth growing up in the ‘hood.’ It will be aimed at people of color who need something better than the environment they’re surrounded by. When you take away education, people are more prone to commit crimes, go to prison, have financial issues or be unhealthy. When you add education to the mix, it proves how important it is. Overall, I just want to be a part of the change that I would like to see in this world.