First-year Political Economy major Stefan Suazo is already making his mark on the Tulane community, serving as the President of the Community Government in Wall Residence Hall and working to establish the Tulane University Academy of Politics. He is fundamentally motivated by his long-term goal of direct political involvement in his home city of New Orleans.
Stefan chose to come to Tulane because he felt he could make a real impact on the campus community here. As a Stamps Scholar, he is a member of one of the United States’ largest merit-based national scholarship programs. He was recognized for his academic achievement and his commitment to his community, two things he is now bringing to Tulane.
Stefan’s first point of contact to the university community is in the same place as for many first-year students—his residence hall. Stefan is the President of the Community Government in Wall Residence Hall, where the Honors First-Year Residential Learning Community (RLC) is housed. He describes Wall passionately, as “the best place to live on campus.” It is filled with other similarly enthusiastic students, who are always excited to debate and discuss. Even the building itself is designed to facilitate conversation, he says.
Outside of Wall, Stefan is currently in the process of establishing a new student organization, the Tulane University Academy of Politics. It will be a non-partisan group, focused on political activity and education. The club will aim to bring political speakers to Tulane, as well as conducting educational outreach to high schools in New Orleans.
Stefan grew up just across the river from the city of New Orleans itself. He clearly feels a strong connection to the area and to the community, and hopes to pursue his political interests here in a more concrete way a little further down the road.
Having worked as an intern in the District Attorney’s Office for two and a half years, Stefan is well aware of the problems his city faces. He says the people working with the District Attorney made his job worthwhile, and he hopes to return as a full-time employee after getting a law degree. The office is, of course, an intense environment, and Stefan found himself completing tasks—announcing the docket in court, sitting in on interviews—that no intern would be allowed to do in other jurisdictions. “If you can work at the DA’s Office in New Orleans,” he says, “you can work anywhere.”
Stefan is clearly always motivated for intellectual and politically-relevant discussions. He is a student of Dr. John Howard’s second semester Honors seminar, which he says is a great space to participate and grow. Conversations regularly continue all the way back to Wall, or into Bruff Commons Dining Hall, he recounts. Dr. Howard’s passion for politics and teaching was actually one of the reasons Stefan chose to attend Tulane and try to make an impact on the community.
Stefan’s advice for other students is that opportunities are everywhere, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about them. Such an attitude landed him his position in the DA’s Office, and has likely continued to facilitate his progress at Tulane. Beyond that, he says, people should find a way they can make an impact, and commit to it. He is trying to do exactly that.