NYPIRG Student Spotlight

Damien Andrade, Brooklyn College Student and NYPIRG Student Board Chair

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When I was a student at BMCC two years ago, I first got involved with NYPIRG when I saw the opportunity to fight for universal health care. I had previously been interested in supporting the push for a more equitable healthcare system, NYPIRG gave me the chance to learn how to organize politically around the issue. Once I signed in support of the New York Health Act, I began attending weekly meetings and have been increasingly involved ever since. I was a member of the NYPIRG Student Board of Directors when I was a student at BMCC, then last year I transferred to Brooklyn College, and this year I am the Student Chairperson for the Board of Directors.

I have become very passionate not only about improving the health care system in New York State, but also the other issues that NYPIRG advocates for. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be in college- that has motivated me to get highly involved in NYPIRG’s Higher Education campaign. The New Deal 4 CUNY that we fight for would improve the state’s public college system and make education more accessible. One of my favorite experiences with NYPIRG was when I was in Albany lobbying for public banking, another issue I am passionate about. The establishment of a Public Bank would divest funds from corporations and instead invest in New York’s communities and therefore the working class.

During the past couple years with NYPIRG, I have become a very active member in events, tabling and overall outreach. NYPIRG has given me the opportunity to practice public speaking so that I can be an outspoken advocate for the issues I care about and be a true leader. I used to be nervous about speaking in front of crowds, but with experience from rallies and press conferences, I have overcome this hurdle and strengthened my skills. I’ve learned how to deliver my message more clearly, effectively, and with passion for the people.

My experience with NYPIRG has molded me to get more involved in my community and has inspired me to pursue a political based career. I want to motivate others to never give up on enthusiastically advocating for the issues they care about despite the pushback. Even if it’s not immediate, all the work we do together for a better future will pay off!