Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY Computer Science major Hector Liang fell in love with New York City the first time he visited the city in 2012.
Raised in Venezuela by Chinese parents, Liang moved to New York to study at BMCC in 2015.
“BMCC attracted me with its Start Here, Go Anywhere motto,” Liang said.
But Liang didn’t think that meant he would go speak before an audience of diplomats, world leaders and celebrities at the United Nations (U.N.) headquarters.
On March 20, Liang and ten other members of the Tribeca Campus Lions Club at BMCC attended the International Day of Happiness at United Nations headquarters in New York City. The BMCC club is a chapter of the International Lions Club Association, which calls itself the world’s largest service club organization. The event was organized by Dr. Judy Kuriansky.
Liang, who is the club president, and the club’s former president, Business Administration major Kevin Camacho spoke during a special panel presentation called Happiness Through Service. The panel was led by James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation founder Jim Luce.
Liang told the audience about the BMCC club member’s daily shifts at the Senior Center at Independence Plaza on Greenwich Street, or weekends spent serving food at the Park Avenue Christian Church's "Saturday Community Lunch Program" directed by Rev. Luis-Alfredo Cartagena who is also Director of BMCC's Modern Languages Lab.
"We have found the young people from the Tribeca Campus Lions Club at BMCC to be absolutely exceptional, on a par higher than any kids we’ve met in the country," said Luce.
He said members of his organization are astounded by the club's leadership and commitment to service.
Other BMCC students who attended the International Day of Happiness included Science major Leyla Wahedi, Liberal Arts major Sonia Leon, Liberal Arts major Nubia Briones, Liberal Arts major Meng Yang cui, Science major Bertha Mendez, Animation and Motion Graphics major Nicholas Vazquez and Liberal Arts major Brittany Broderick. BMCC alumnus James Chin, now an accounting major at Baruch and BMCC alumna Wu Jin Sun, also now at Baruch also participated. BMCC Modern Languages Professor Sue Jenner is the club’s advisor.
International Happiness Day was the BMCC club’s second trip to the U.N. this year. Just eight days earlier, the same group of students and Mathematics major Ashlina Wang, volunteered at the 38th annual UN Lion’s Day held March 11and March 12. The BMCC students helped attendees check in at the U.N. complex. During the event each of the BMCC students received the Lions International President Appreciation Certificates for their time volunteering.
New York Tribeca Campus Lions Club advisor Sue Jenner founded the club in June 2004 and has been helping students ever since. During the Lion’s Club at the U.N Celebration Dinner on March 11, she was honored with the International Leadership Award.
“Joining our club is great for personal growth, leadership skills, networking, and opportunities to meet people from the world. We always serve the community locally and globally,” said Jenner.
Liang says that Jenner’s encouragement to students is unwavering.
“She is always encouraging us to succeed in college by committing part of our lives to community service through the Lions Club,” said Liang.
Liang, who plans to complete his associate degree at BMCC, said he also owes a great deal of gratitude to BMCC Speech Professor Naida Zukic.
“Her speech class and the speech giving skills we learned in class inspired me to speak in front of my peers at school. I never thought I would end up speaking in front of 200 people at the United Nations,” said Liang.
There are currently around 30 New York Tribeca Campus Lions Club members. For more information contact Professor Sue Jenner at firstname.lastname@example.org.