By Zainab Iqbal
Published: April 18th, 2019
Alyssa Taylor loves the color purple. She’s loved it ever since she found out her birthstone was amethyst. On this particular day, she had on purple socks and purple leggings. Her nail polish? That was purple, too. Her mom is Trinidadian and her father is Panamanian. “I consider myself a 100 percent American,” she laughed. She’s a three-sport athlete at Brooklyn College. And she’s running for USG president.
Taylor laughed when asked for her age. “You want to know my age,” she gasped. “You’re not supposed to ask a woman her age.”
She’s 24 years old and lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The commute from Bed-Stuy to Brooklyn College is terrible, but she finds it to be worth it. She’s a Physical Education major and a Health and Nutrition Sciences minor. She runs on the cross country team, swims, and is on the softball team. She’s also a current member of student government. How does she manage it all? Time management and communication.
“I’m really big on time management,” she said. “I live by my calendar. Everything goes into my calendar. Everything is scheduled. At some point I had to schedule sleep. And it’s also about communication. Communicating with your professors, communicating with coaches, and communicating with whoever I’m working with.”
Taylor is the youngest in her family. She has an older sister and brother. By the time she came along, her parents said, “She’ll be alright,” and alright she is.
When she was 11 years old, her parents put her on a softball team. It was the first sport she ever played. After a year, she was upset because her family couldn’t afford to let her continue on. When she was in the sixth grade, she entered the step team in her school. And every year since, she’s joined a new sports team.
When she was at the City College of New York, she spent two years trying to figure out what exactly it was she had a passion for. She realized that the only thing she seemed to be passionate about was being on every single sports team she could possibly be on. Then one day, she tore her ACL. It required three surgeries and she wasn’t able to walk for a year. It was an extremely difficult time for her as she thought she had lost who she was. But, it was then that she realized she wanted to educate future athletes on how to protect themselves from these injuries. She also wanted to promote healthy living. And that’s what she thinks she might want to do in the future.
“My heart is set in being a physical education educator and working in an NYC Public Middle School,” she said. “Middle school aged students because they’re not too young so you can teach them things, but they’re not too old that they are already set in their ways and they don’t want to learn. That’s the perfect age range.”
She also wants to be a coach. And perhaps get into politics.
“I’m not super crazy about politics because I feel as though many politicians are not the most truthful people; they’re not the most relatable. But these are the reasons why I want to be a politician. I want to relate to people. I want to tell the truth. I want people to feel represented. That’s why I do it now.”
When Taylor transferred to Brooklyn College in the fall of 2016, she spent the entire semester not being involved in anything. It was very much out of character for her. Then one day, CLAS Student Government had a women’s leadership lunch. Taylor decided to attend and became really inspired. She wanted to take part in the student government. Unfortunately for her, when she transferred, she had 11 credits. At that time, students needed to be full-time students with at least 12 credits to be a part of CLAS.
The following year, Taylor joined as a student government trainee and was voted into Assembly. She was then voted as the chair of media outreach and engagement. Joining student government was the best decision of her life.
“I’m totally stressed out all the time,” she laughed. “But it’s a good stressed out. At the end of the day, I know I’m making a difference and am doing something that matters. I wouldn’t trade in what I do now for anything.”
Taylor, along with her vice president ticket Ethan Milich, are said by students to be the “establishment candidates” notably because they are already a part of student government.
“Me and Ethan took the time to do the work and put in the effort that it took to build ourselves,” Taylor said. “We both volunteered our time, joined the Assembly, and moved up because of something people saw in us.”
“The seed was sewn last year,” Taylor said of her deciding to run for president. It was around the time she was supporting Zunera Ahmed’s run for president.
“I didn’t like the feeling of being told that I could and couldn’t do certain things,” she said. “But what really sealed the deal was the distribution of power within student government. The way our student government is set up this year, there’s a leader of the student government, but then there’s a leader of the working body [the Assembly]. A lot of things get done through the Assembly, but a lot of people are going to the president. There’s a big miscommunication between what needs to be done and what’s getting done.”
Taylor just wants to continue the work she’s been doing and move the student government in the right direction. If she happens to lose the election, she hopes her opponents see the knowledge in her. And if she does win, she hoper her opponents can work with her because she believes they are both very intelligent people.
In the meantime, she is going to continue working hard with her role in student government and working hard campaigning. And when she’s not doing either, she’ll be cozying up to watch her favorite show of all time, Grey’s Anatomy on Hulu.
“It’s my sister’s account,” she whispered.