Meet AEL Treasurer, Rafael!

Name: Rafael C. Mencía

Hometown: Buffalo, New York

Major/Minor: TFA (Television and Film Arts) major, and Photography minor

Year: Junior

Quote to Live By: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

HC BuffState: What organizations are you involved in on campus?

Rafael: I am part of AEL and BSC TV

HC BuffState: How would you describe AEL to someone who doesn't know about the org?

Rafael: AEL is an organization formed by Latin American students to build a sense of community and family away from home. Although we are a Latino based organization, we welcome anyone to our weekly General Interest meetings. Our General Interest meetings are held every Thursday at 12:15 pm in Bulger West.

HC BuffState: What is your position in AEL?

Rafael: I am currently the treasurer for AEL.

HC BuffState: What's your favorite part about being apart of AEL?

Rafael: My favorite part of being on the AEL executive board is meeting new people and the exposure to so many diverse cultures. AEL is like a family for me, we all share the same love. I’ve been a member since my freshman year and I loved every minute of it. In fact, I was a commuter so I didn’t really know a lot of people my freshman year so I never once felt weird or awkward once I joined.

HC BuffState: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Rafael: In all honesty, I have no idea what or where I see myself in 10 years. I’m the type of person who goes with the flow; just see where life takes me. Right now, I’m a freelance photographer and filmmaker, so I would like to stay within that area as a photographer or filmmaker. If it all works well, I will hopefully get an internship in the film industry by next summer, which I’m very excited for!

HC BuffState: Who's your role model and why?

Rafael: My role models would definitely would have to be my parents. I would not be the man I am today without their continuous help and guidance. From an early age I was taught to be respectful, responsible, honest and most importantly humble. They both inspire me to be better than what they could be and that pushes me until this very day. I always wanted to be just like my dad, being easygoing and knowledgeable are two characteristics I have always admired about him. The way I was raised is the way I will raise my kids when the time comes. I always try to make my parents, my family and friends proud of who I am and who I will become.

HC BuffState: If you had the chance to have dinner with someone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

If I had the chance to have dinner with someone dead or alive, it would be my grandfather who passed away a couple of years ago. I always admired him as a child so I would give anything to see, let alone speak to him again. The distance between us geographically did not help either, him being in Dominican Republic and I in Buffalo, made it more difficult to spend time with him. All my life, I remember the good times I had with him everytime he came to visit the states. Simply put, I wish I could have long talks about what he did in his life, and his experiences growing up. My dad still tells me that my grandfather used to always call me his predecessor, “su futuro,” which translates to his future. Although we did not speak as much as I would have wanted to, like my family and loved ones, my grandfather is my motivation to succeed.

HC BuffState: If you could give advice to current/incoming students, what would it be?

Rafael: My advice for current and incoming students is to try and be involved on campus as much as you can, especially if you are a commuter! Being a commuter from Buffalo did not stop me from doing what I wanted to do on campus. Like most commuters, the only reason for being on campus were my classes and going to the gym, which kept me out of the campus loop. After my first couple of weeks into the semester, I was told to get involved in the NIA mentoring program as a mentee and it proved to be well worth my time. Having a mentor is a helpful asset for anyone on this campus, and was a quick resource for any questions I may have had. After breaking out of my, “commuter shell,” I have built foundations in many organizations including BSC TV and AEL. Although finding the time for clubs or organizations may seem difficult, make the best out of all that Buffalo State has to offer because anything is possible if you keep a positive attitude and an open mind!