SUNY Broome is proud to announce that current student, Jordan Ramsey, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow for 2022-2023. Ramsey is a non-traditional student who is pursuing a degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in theater. 

As the recipient of the Newman Civic Fellowship, Ramsey will join over one hundred and seventy other college students from across the country and Mexico to connect, develop leadership skills, and continue their civic engagement efforts on local, national, and global levels.

Born in Oneonta, NY and raised in Unadilla, NY, Ramsey was first exposed to a life of service and civic engagement through his involvement in Boy Scouts and church-facilitated mission trips. As a high school student, Ramsey attended The Darrow School, a Shaker-inspired, co-ed, boarding school in New Lebanon, NY. The Darrow School is deeply committed to community engagement. So much so, that every Wednesday is specifically designated for students to engage in acts of service in the region. For Jordan Ramsey, Wednesday’s were the highlight of his week. 

“I really loved that community service was infused into the curriculum at my high school. I looked forward to Wednesday every week. I got to serve the local community in so many ways. I did everything from chopping wood for families in need who used it as their primary heat source in the winter, to supporting the local chapter of the Humane Society, to volunteering with the Columbia Land Conservancy to help to protect regional farmland and forests,” said Ramsey. 

While high school certainly had its highpoints for Ramsey, it was not without some trials. During his time at the Darrow School, Jordan contracted Lyme Disease (a few times) and began to experience first lingering, then chronic side effects of the illness. 

After graduating from the Darrow School, Ramsey attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, but ended up withdrawing during his first semester due to his health. 

“While I would never wish Lyme Disease on my worst enemy, I do appreciate that it helped to shape me into a more compassionate and empathetic person. Struggling for the past several years with chronic fatigue and neurological problems certainly has been a humbling experience,” shared Ramsey.

Jordan first came to SUNY Broome in the fall of 2017. During his first few weeks as a student,  while Ramsey was wandering around the campus trying to navigate the lay of the land, he stumbled across the Lyme Disease Lab on the lower level of the Natural Science Building. 

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was a whole space on campus designated to exploring the illness that I was (and am) struggling with. I always planned to go back there and talk to the people in the lab, but three quarters of the way through the semester, I ended up getting very sick again and had to withdraw from the school,” explained Ramsey. 

Jordan spent the next few years battling Lyme Disease and searching for personal support and medical answers. It was during this time that the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that were thriving in major U.S. cities began to pop up across the nation in smaller, more rural communities. Ramsey took note and was eager to get involved. 

“I had always been part of the activist circles in our community, but when George Floyd was killed, I felt compelled to be a part of the movement and to help in any way that I could. It was amazing to see that even though we live in small, rural, predominantly white communities, that we could come together, show our support, and express our desire for change.”

Ramsey joined demonstrations in Binghamton, Norwich, and his hometown of Unadilla, all with the purpose of highlighting racial justice and representation. 

Thankfully, in the fall of 2021, Ramsey was feeling physically well enough to give SUNY Broome a second chance. He took “Introduction to American Government” with Professor Carla Michalak, who immediately took note of Ramsey’s passion for activism and service. She encouraged him to get involved with civic engagement efforts on campus and invited him to take an active part in the campus-wide deliberation focused on racial justice. When President Dr. Kevin Drumm reached out to his faculty and staff for guidance on whom to nominate to represent SUNY Broome as the Newman Civic Fellow for 2022-2023, Professor Michalak was quick to suggest Jordan Ramsey. Professor Michalak took her recommendation one step further by connecting Ramsey to SUNY Broome’s 2021-2022 Newamn Civic Fellow, Christina Thompson. 

“I appreciated being able to speak with Christina. She gave me advice on what to expect and explained the different opportunities for workshops in leadership training. I’m really looking forward to what’s to come,” said Ramsey. 

While Jordan waits for his Newman Civic Fellowship term to commence, he is staying active on campus as a Student Assembly Senator. His newest passion project is bringing awareness to the campus community about overdose prevention. He is in the process of coordinating a layperson Narcan training session for any student who wishes to learn how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and administer the opioid overdose reversal drug, Narcan. 

Ramsey learned early on not to compare his educational timeline with the timelines of his peers and is quick to share that advice with his fellow students. 

“When I first came home from Earlham College, I felt so lonely and discouraged. But then I forced myself to not compare myself to others. You can do great things on your own time and you should celebrate each victory, however small or big that victory may be. I’ll be celebrating this victory (the Newman Civic Fellowship) for a while for sure.”

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