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Nearly a Half Century Later, SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association True to its Roots

When Marty Mannix attended SUNY Plattsburgh in the early 1960s, he saw the student government as a rag-tag, unpredictable and chaotic assembly of representatives.

Today, the SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association, with its $1 million budget, is a professionally organized body of student-elected officials who take their jobs – and their commitments – seriously. And they have Mannix to thank.

The SA is Born

“When I first got on campus, student government was called the House of Delegates,” Mannix ’64 said. “Every organization, regardless of its size, had one representative.”

Mannix kept his distance until then-President George Angell told him he had the power to exact change in the organization. Mannix and his friends came up with a plan and presented the idea to the administration and student body. The changes were put to a vote and passed overwhelmingly. Elections were held, and Mannix took charge of the first SA.

Learning from the Masters

Like Mannix, Cheryl Hogle ’68 G’72, the first woman to serve as SA president, said she learned far more from the experience in 1967 than she ever learned in the classroom.

“I learned about interpersonal relationships, about negotiations, about compromise and communications,” she said from her home in Florida. “I was able to learn from some of the masters – George Angell, Bill Flynt, Dean Hood and Doc Redcay. The impact these people had on my life at that time was massive and immeasurable.”

Services Provided Run the Gamut

The Student Association supports more than 80 clubs and organizations — from AKEBA to WQKE. Fees support tutoring services, a student shuttle bus and a small-loan service. They help put artwork on walls and sculptures on lawns, and they help students pay for their education through the Student Association Memorial Scholarship.

“SUNY Plattsburgh’s Student Association is like no other student government in the SUNY system,” said Michael Cashman ’03 G’06, former two-term SA president. “The SA’s million-dollar budget goes directly back into serving our students and the campus. While the finances may have changed since 1963, the tradition of serving students has not.”

Students Serving Students

Almost three generations later, the Student Association is still affording its constituents the same kinds of opportunities as its predecessors. Changes were made along the way, but the overall organization and purpose is the same as it was in Marty Mannix’s day.

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