By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart
Sasha Lofthouse spent his childhood on SUNY Broome’s campus, never hesitating to tag along with his dad, Associate Professor and Chairperson of Engineering Science & Physics, Robert Lofthouse, to work. He roamed the halls of the Applied Technology Building, picked up pointers from the chess club, and battled fellow Pokémon Go enthusiasts in the campus’ many Poké gyms. As the child of a tenured professor, Sasha assumed that one day he would be a student at SUNY Broome, but he never imagined that he would be the president of the student body.
Lofthouse’s presidency began on Commencement Day 2023 and will continue throughout the upcoming academic year. As Student Assembly President, his primary goal is to amplify the student voice and to help the College’s administration maintain a positive and inclusive academic environment. When he isn’t meeting with students or collaborating with Shared Governance bodies, he is back roaming the same AT Building, but this time as an Engineering Science: A.S. student.
Sasha is a native of Ithaca, NY, and a graduate of Lehman Alternative Community School. Even though he grew up surrounded by academia, Lofthouse was still nervous about the transition from high school to college. His academic interests varied from everything from cognitive science, to theater, to physics. While his answer to “what do I want to be when I grow up” changed on the regular, one thing remained constant – he wanted to tackle any project or career through the lens of an engineer. Like all incoming engineering science students, Sasha made an appointment to meet with the department chair for academic guidance. But uniquely, this meeting was simply a follow-up to almost two decades of life lessons and support.
“I’ve always been exposed to the power of engineering. From an early age, my dad showed me that an engineering perspective can help with everything from basic things like the mechanics of a home, to advanced problem solving. While some people may think that studying in your dad’s program would be stifling or embarrassing, I have the completely opposite feeling. If you know my dad, you know that I definitely don’t get preferential treatment, because all engineering students get my dad’s total, genuine support. That’s why he can always be found in the lobby of AT. He can’t help but jump in and work alongside his students. So, I’m definitely not embarrassed. I’m very proud to be a student in his department.”
While Professor Robert Lofthouse insisted that he wouldn’t interfere with Sasha’s SUNY Broome experience, he made one exception. He heavily encouraged his son to join the Student Assembly.
“My dad has spent decades on this campus and he always observed that the students who were involved with Student Assembly thrived,” shared Lofthouse. “Every year he watched an awesome group of students come together to have fun, build relationships, and enhance the College. He wanted me to be part of that network of friendship and support and heavily encouraged me to get involved.”
Lofthouse did just that, first as a Student Assembly Senator and then as the Vice President for Academic Affairs. These leadership roles exposed Lofthouse to the basics of how a college runs and required him to be an active, student representative in the Council for Academic Issues. It also introduced Sasha to a diverse group of students from every program on campus, who quickly became his core group of friends. When the Student Assembly President position became available, Sasha threw his hat in the ring in the hopes of making even more positive changes on the campus that he loves so much.
As President, a personal goal of Lofthouse’s is to ensure that all SUNY Broome students are aware of the abundant resources available for academic and personal success.
“I try to use all of the services that SUNY Broome provides for students. I prioritize my personal wellness with the amazing counselors in Counseling Services and access free tutoring from the Learning Assistance Department. I also love that my primary care needs can be met through our Health Services. And thanks to our amazing Student Activities team, there is always something new to do or try. My hope is that all students will seek out these resources without letting stigma or fear get in the way. This is harder said than done, but it’s something to work towards this year,” said Lofthouse.
When Sasha isn’t on campus, he is spending time with friends and caring for his cat, Judy. But his favorite thing to do is spend time with his two biggest role models, his parents.
“I have big shoes to fill, but I have two of the best people in the world helping me along the way.”
Read more stories like Sasha’s in the digital edition of BROOME Magazine!