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Dan Garcia: Once a Leader, Always a Leader

Danial+Garica.+Photo+courtney+of+storyofpaceu.
Danial Garica. Photo courtney of storyofpaceu.

Danial Garica. Photo courtney of storyofpaceu.

Joe Peoples

Joe Peoples

Danial Garica. Photo courtney of storyofpaceu.

Alyssa Madonna, Featured Writer

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Pace University graduate student Daniel Garcia got involved in several student organizations as an undergraduate, taking on leadership roles in an effort to make positive changes on the school’s Pleasantville campus.

Garcia hasn’t lost his passion for getting involved now that he has moved onto the next phase of his education. The graduate assistant for Leadership Initiatives is hoping to pass along what he has learned and help develop a new generation of leaders at Pace. One of the programs on which he works is the High Potential Leadership Series, a series of hour-long conferences held on Thursday afternoons in the Kessel Student Center’s Conference Rooms A and B.

“[These programs] are aimed toward developing the personal and professional skills of the students here on our campus,” said Garcia, who was also responsible for Pace’s Make a Difference Day. That event took place last fall with more than 300 students volunteering their time for community service.

The programs don’t discriminate as far as becoming a member, however there are some leadership programs that the students have to apply for. One program in particular is the Setters Leadership Program, which is a multi-year program where students go through certain tiers and learn various individual, group, and community values.

“We instill different values like being congruent with your actions and being committed to your goals as well as being engaged in controversy, but with civility,” Garcia said.

Garcia started to become active on campus when he became senator for SGA, followed by vice president, and finally, SGA Student Body President his senior year.

“That to me was emotional in a way because I never fully believed in my ability to succeed or let alone act in a leadership role,” Garcia said. “I was always comfortable with taking a back seat to things.”

He found himself in the front seat, however, as opportunities began to emerge for him during his presidency.

He met Congress Woman Nita Lowey and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, due to his involvement in Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Programs at Pace.

Meeting such public officials led Garcia to seek an internship in politics. Last summer, he landed an internship position with local assemblyman David Buchwald, representative of the 93rd District of New York, where he got hands on political experience.

“[The internship] was a very valuable experience because I got an inside look as to how local government and state government works,” said Garcia, who hopes to secure a political job in public policy, legislative work, or advocacy work. “The ultimate goal is to become an elected official, or what I prefer to call a public servant, as there is such a negative connotation behind the word politician.”

Garcia believes that someone in a role of a leadership should have their focus on the community before themselves. He believes the task of the leader should be to better the lives of those struggling and puts a strong emphasis on a sense of community that works together rather than apart.

“This is not about me and my experiences always its more about what other people are going through and what I can do to make their lives better or lift whatever burden they might have,” Garcia said.

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