Elmont native and recently elected president of the SUNY Student Assembly Michael Braun was sworn in as the newest member of the SUNY Board of Trustees on May 22. Braun, 22, will not only be the sole student voting on the Board, but will also be the only voting member not appointed by New York’s governor, since he represents the voices of hundreds of thousands of students attending SUNY’s 64 colleges.
SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson said she was glad to welcome Braun, who had previously served as the Student Assembly’s chief financial officer.
“The swearing-in of a new student trustee is an exciting moment, as we welcome a new voice to the Board, a voice elected by the students to represent them on critical decisions. And they have made an excellent choice in electing Trustee Braun,” Johnson said in a statement.
Braun, who currently attends SUNY Rockefeller, said he was first introduced to student politics back in Elmont. He served as Elmont’s student body president for the 2012-2013 school year, where his responsibilities mainly revolved around ensuring successful and fun school events. But Braun also learned the fundamentals of gathering student groups together, listening to their problems and coming up with realistic solutions.
“Obviously high school government is different than college government, but it really laid the foundation for my involvement in student politics,” Braun said.
When he went on to SUNY Cortland to earn his degree in political science, Braun joined the Student Government Association, eventually becoming president in his senior year. He earned the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence for his work in 2017. As he got more and more involved in SUNY’s student government, Braun connected with former Student Assembly President Marc Cohen, who pushed Braun to run last year as his replacement. After more than a month of campaigning throughout the SUNY system and connecting with local student governments, Braun won the election on April 7.
“His outstanding service to his community, coupled with his initiative and drive to propel our state’s public college system forward makes him a perfect fit to take on the responsibilities he will face as president,” New York State Sen. Elaine Phillips said in a statement. “Michael is the embodiment of what makes our SUNY system so exemplary.”
Braun officially began his role as President of the Student Assembly on June 1. He plans to advocate and vote for the improvement of SUNY’s sustainability projects, as well as affordability for all students. Braun said he also wants to promote diversity in the student body and its leaders, something that he has long urged since his time in Elmont.
The SUNY Board of Trustees will hold their next meeting Monday June 12.