If you have ever been to a Coffeehouse Event, sat in on a Senate Meeting, or spent more than one hour inside of the SSU, chances are you know this week’s student Profile, Erin Trudeau. A true embodiment of Siena’s values and an influential student leader, Erin has just returned from a semester in London and is ready to dive in her role as Student Senate Treasurer. She also has some valuable advice for anyone looking to go abroad. Read on to find out more about this involved and inspiring student.
HC: So Erin, tell me what you are involved with here at Siena.
Erin: I am currently involved the Student Senate Treasurer and a member of the McGuire Society. In the past I have sat on Student Events Board and Residence Hall Association. For RHA, I was the Ryan Hall Representative my freshman year which was how I got involved in SGA. I started in SEB as the Coffeehouse Co-Chair and then I switched over to Student Senate and I became the SEB Representative over there, which was how I really found my place in Senate. And now I’m here!
HC: That’s quite a bit! Out of your involvements, which one has influenced and shaped you the most?
Erin: I would have to say the SEB Coffeehouse Co-Chair Position. That really shaped me into the comfortable leader I am today. Coffeehouse is a weekly event and we are required to have events prepared, contracted, paid for, and advertised. Pretty much everything that goes into event-planning had to be done every single week. So my co-chair, who has since graduated, and I had to prepare a lot in advance. We would plan things out monthly and weekly I would have to make sure my work was done before Thursday nights. It wasn’t actually the position I had applied for, it was one that the SEB Executive Board thought I would fit better in. So accepting it and not really knowing what I was getting myself into made me have to adjust a bit faster. It also really helped me gain a lot of connections on campus that I continue to work with through my current positions.
HC: It’s obvious that Siena has a very active student body. You are very involved yourself, so why do you think being involved on campus is so important?
Erin: Well I was blessed freshman year with my hallway and managed to make a ton of great friends off the bat. However, I have made so many close friends through my involvement at Siena. Some of my best friends also sit on Senate and SEB with me. The upperclassmen and underclassmen that I have met have made me realize how important it is to have the classes communicate. I think it’s really important for the social aspect of college. Yes, you’re here to learn, but you need to be a member of the community and contribute to your campus.
HC: I understand you just spent some time in London. Tell us a bit about your experience over there.
Erin: Based on our conversation, it’s easy to see that I like to be busy. I function much better under pressure than I do when I have a lot of free time. I was nervous about studying abroad due to my Type 1 Diabetes and I was nervous about how I would handle that in a different environment. I went to a meeting freshman year with Greg Jabaut in the Study Abroad office and I explained my entire situation. I gave him my major, my ideal career path, through that conversation, he was able to give me three programs he thought would fit best. That’s pretty incredible because Siena has so many study abroad programs and for him to give me three just out of that small conversation. I ended up picking the London Internship Program which ended up being the perfect fit for me. I actually got hired by the company I interned for, and I can do all of my work remotely from home, which happens to be my dorm room, and I have Skype sessions with my boss and coworkers back in London when need be. The company was a small juice cleanse company that consisted of eight people, and six of us were under the age of twenty-three, which lead to growing a close relationship with them. I also got to go to eight different countries over the course of my time in London. It was an exhausting experience but I learned more about myself in those four months than I would have ever learned in a long time. It was incredible.
HC: So, based on what you experienced, what would you say to someone who is looking to go abroad?
Erin: I would say the first step is to start the conversation. If I hadn’t gone to Greg, I wouldn’t have known there were options. He connected me with other students that have Type 1 Diabetes that had been abroad and he tampered any fear that I had. I’m a very anxious person and to be able to control that was incredible; he definitely knows what he is doing! But the conversation is absolutely huge. Understand that Siena has a very extensive study abroad program and they will do anything they can to help you through that.
HC: Is there anything else you would like to add? Advice for your fellow students?
Erin: I would say, to people in every class, don’t be afraid to start the conversation and that goes for anything. Whether it’s study abroad, getting involved, classes, pretty much anything. When I get nervous, I become more outgoing, which is backwards if you think about it, but that’s what happens. But when I get nervous in class, I ask more questions. When I was a freshman I knew I wanted to be involved because I’m not good at not being busy. So I asked people questions and I thought about what clubs here at Siena would be the most similar based on my high school clubs. Even just now I’m looking at a position to apply for in the Fall, and I’ve already asked Karen Keis about the position. Basically, Siena is a community where if you ask the question, there will always be follow up. You just have to be ready to take the first step.