There he is. The peripatetic Curtis J. Browne, the new Student Government Association (SGA) President, who was recently seen at the September 5 celebration of the street naming ceremony in honor of the great abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, which took place at BMCC’s entrance ramp. In his ringing remarks, representing the BMCC student body, everyone in the audience recognized his leadership skills.
Browne said, “Today is a very special day, not just for me, but for all people who believe that knowledge is power and education is the key to open any door. Here at BMCC we have over 19,000 students who believe in this philosophy. Hence we are here today. We students at BMCC stand on the backs of giants, giants such as Frederick Douglass.”
He added, “This moment reinforces for me that Frederick Douglass is the quintessential example that knowledge is power, and at BMCC we will do like Frederick Douglass did, we will ‘Start Here and Go Anywhere.'”
Browne, born in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad, West Indies, came to New York in 2002 to further his professional and academic career. After acquiring his GED, he enrolled at BMCC in 2004.
He is a Business Administration major and plans to matriculate to Baruch College. Browne was elected President of the SGA by leading the Alliance of Proactive Students Party to victory in last spring’s election
Browne is planning a very pro-active student government platform that seeks to elicit “transparency” between his administration and his fellow students. “One of the things I’m aiming to do is to be transparent with the students and let them know what is happening within the SGA. I want them to be part of what is taking place in the college. My intention is to have meetings outside in the cafeteria area so that people can get involved. I want to bring meetings to the students,” said Browne.
During the summer of 2007 Browne participated in BMCC’s Study Abroad Program in Ghana, West Africa. There, he said, “I gained a more complete understanding of my African history and developed a deeper appreciation of the African Diaspora as well as the impact this has had on the culture of the Caribbean, including my native Trinidad.”
Since his trip to Ghana, Browne has become a strong supporter of the Study Abroad Program and plans to make it one of the planks of his political platform. “I want to consider how we can do something about assisting in funding the Program. I think it is very beneficial and it needs to be promoted and students need to get involved and take advantage of this opportunity at BMCC.”
Another important theme of Browne’s presidency, as he sees it, will be to build rapport with all the presidents of student clubs. For example, “I have just organized a meeting with the presidents and it is called Breakfast with the Presidents, where all club are invited … Our primary responsibility in SGA is to help guide the clubs and fund the clubs. It’s imperative that we form a marriage with the clubs right now so that we can all move on in the same direction.”
Earlier, as an SGA senator in 2006-2007, he helped organize the Disaster Relief trip to New Orleans during the winter intersession with 30 students and three faculty members. “We spent five days assisting with the clean up and demolition of houses ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. This was an emotionally draining but invaluable experience,” said Browne.
As a newly elected senator in 2006, Browne, along with others, developed the first SGA sponsored Black Male Initiative (BMI), which offered mentoring and academic support to students in need. “This program has been very successful in improving the GPA and retention of more than 60 percent of the participants. At our urging this year, SGA has voted to expand and strengthen the program for the 2007-2008 academic year,” said Browne.
Browne is also very active in his Brooklyn community and in the Caribbean. He is a natural entrepreneur and is involved in a number of small businesses and not-for-profit organizations, which helped to foster economic development in the island of St. Lucia.
The SGA president never sits on his laurels. He is a committed and all-around student. During the summer 2007 he tutored English 095 in the Learning Resource Center. He is a contributor to the school’s newspaper, the Voice of the Voiceless. He also acts as a master of ceremonies for events on campus, including the popular annual Carifesta showcase, hosted by the Caribbean Student Association. In addition, he represented BMCC at the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus in Albany and sits on numerous college committees.
If there’s anyone who symbolizes the mission of our students to ‘Go Anywhere,’ it’s Curtis Browne.