Aolat Salami

Aolat Salami
Staten Island, NY
Year of Graduation
Aolot Red Day
Red Day 2022

Describe Oneonta in one word? That’s easy, according to senior Sociology and Africana & Latinx Studies major Aolat Salami: “Community.”

Being involved in student leadership and government has kept Aolat active and connected him to the SUNY Oneonta community but, most importantly, it’s a way he feels he can bring about change and impact other people.

Why SUNY Oneonta?

I knew I would be able to get a quality undergrad experience and not worry about whether the financial burden would impact my intention to go to law school afterwards.

My Activities

My first semester, I joined the Student Association (SA), our student government organization, and my involvement in campus life snowballed from there, I joined the Hall Government in my residence hall and became a Dragon Guide mentor for new students soon after. Last spring, I was elected SA president. In that role, I attend university leadership meetings and have the opportunity to voice the opinions of students who might not otherwise be heard. Not only do I get to share student perspectives with people in power, I also get to see first-hand the progress that’s being made and how much the administration, faculty and staff really care about students and want them to succeed.

Aolot at Orientation
Orientation Leader

Best Experiences

One of the first things I did here was create a new club, the Black Student Union, and work to get it recognized. This was challenging and very impactful for me because it forced me to be a bigger advocate for myself and my peers. Over the summer, I was able to attend a Black Critical Studies, or BlackCrit, conference hosted by SUNY. It was my first conference, and it made me realize that I want to work in a field that gives me the opportunity to help people dismantle the systems that constrict and oppress them.

What do you like about your major?

My sociology classes have helped me see the ways in which those communities are underserved and why that might be, and my Africana and Latinx Studies courses have given me the tools to work toward actually creating change.

Aolot Speaking
Speaking to graduates at 2022 Fall Commencement

What’s next for you?

After I graduate, my plan is to go to law school. I want to work in social justice, whether that’s through the legal system or in a related field that allows me to impact change in communities that are disenfranchised.

I’m grateful that I took my first public speaking class at Oneonta. Because of my roles on campus, I’ve gotten to practice and implement my public-speaking skills, giving speeches at graduation and other events, speaking during meetings and presenting reports. It feels good when you know what you’re talking about and people are asking for your opinion. All of it makes me walk a little taller and has built my confidence. No matter what I do after graduation, that will serve me well.

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