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Fabien Smallwood: Future Humanitarian




Name: Fabien Smallwood

Age: 20

Year: Senior class of 2015

Major: Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR) Minors: Inequality Studies, Business, Law & Society

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Favorite Quote: “Not all those who wander are lost”- J.R.R Tolkien

Favorite Color: Navy Blue


What are you involved in on campus?

I am a student manager at The Center for Intercultural Dialogue, also known as 626. I am also the co-vice president of programming for the North Campus Program Council, (I mentor underclassmen men through the organization,) Scholars Working Ambitiously to Graduate (SWAG), and I am a member of Phenomenon Step Team. In addition, I am the co-publicity chair for Black Students United (BSU), and am the former Vice President and Social Chair of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

What encouraged you to join Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.?

I became a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. seeking to establish bonds with men whose ideals aligned with my own. Prior to college, and even as recently as my freshman year, I found myself only in the company of women. As much as I enjoy women, I did feel it was necessary to acquaint myself with men, most especially of a higher standard. Given our rich history and influence on Cornell’s campus, it was only natural that I gravitated towards the Alpha Chapter.

What is your favorite part of being a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.?

Outside of the commitment that we have to serve Cornell’s community, I genuinely enjoy spending time with my brothers. The memories that we share are invaluable, and I am pleased that I will be able to share in this lifetime commitment with such upstanding gentlemen.

And the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge of being a brother is finding and maintaining the balance between serving the community and adhering to my academics. As an Alpha Man, I strive for excellence in all of my endeavors. However, it’s a bit frustrating when opportunities to further effectuate change arise but I am unable to commit because I have prelim to study for or a paper to write. Said balance, while challenging, is still a work and progress.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I will have graduated from the law school of my choice, and will be working in one of the top law firms in the nation.

What is your dream job?

At the moment, I don’t have a dream job. But ideally the career that I wish to have will be in the field of law, having a substantial impact on human rights. Most people don’t know this about me, but I feel that ultimately my calling may be to commit to humanitarian works. I feel this is because for as long as I can remember I have longed for my career path to be, that which is something much greater than myself.

What are your hobbies?

Unfortunately, it turns out that I don’t have very many hobbies. However, I love watching movies and television shows, or playing video games. When I am not doing any of these things, I thoroughly enjoy hanging out and spending time with my close friends. Some of my most salient college memories are from staying up until the wee hours of the morning talking and laughing.

Who is your role model?

My role model is my mother. It took coming to college and being away from her for an extended period of time to really understand all that she has done for me. The phrase absence makes the heart grow fonder is key because in my time away, I began to realize all of the sacrifices she has made for me, which have allowed me to make it to Cornell. She is a single parent who despite the odds worked as hard as possible to make a better life for her son. I wish to follow her steps and lead the best life possible so that I can give to my children the way she has given to me.

How many of the 161 List have you already achieved/which are you most looking forward to/your favorite:

I have completed 27 of the activities in my tenure here. My favorite had to be the time I climbed all 161 steps of the clock tower. I did so with the members of my Fraternity to commemorate my Fraternity’s founding.

Any advice for new students?

Start the school year off strong and hit the ground running. Don’t succumb to peer pressure and allow others to dictate how you spend your time. Too often first year students think that it is okay to allow their grades to suffer because they have three more years to make up for it. I am quick to tell any underclassman what was told to me; “It is a lot harder to bring a low GPA up than it is to maintain a high GPA.”

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