In November 2009, Alexander Sewell was elected president for the 2010 Student Government Association – but he's not stopping there.
Like alumni Bobby Rush, Melissa Bean and Michael Quigley, Alexander has taken his Roosevelt education all the way to Washington D.C. After graduating in May 2011, Alex accepted a position in the office of democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. In the fall of 2011 he was offered a job in the Obama administration, working as the Briefing Book Coordinator for the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu. Alex reported he was "out here working hard -- trying to make you proud and tellig everyone I can about my great experience at RU!" His ultimate dream is to earn a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives where he can influence funding for education, health care reform and HIV/AIDS awareness. "Real change comes from the federal government. I'm shooting for the stars."
Born and raised in Chicago, Sewell came to Roosevelt as a transfer student to major in political science. He was a Roosevelt Scholar, concentrating his studies on Metropolitan Issues. He completed his degree at the Chicago Campus in Spring 2011.
Throughout his time on campus, he learned how to be a strong leader – something he'll carry with him throughout his future career. "It's important to be a consensus builder. Everyone needs a seat at the table for change to happen. You also need courage. It takes a lot of gumption to put your ideas out there."
He believes that the University's mission has elevated his education beyond what other schools can offer. "It has taught me that we are all citizens of a global environment with interconnected destinies. Therefore, we must work hard to ensure that we fight for justice and equality for every individual." Since attending Roosevelt, Alexander has a sharpened focus on his future. "I am now inspired to fulfill my mission in life, which is helping people. I am extending myself beyond my own boundaries."
In January 2010 Alexander was honored by the Boys II Men Fraternity as "Phenomenal Man of the Year" for his contributions to leadership, advocacty and community service. This summer he joined a non-profit, pro bono legal organization, The Civil Rights Agenda, as a staff intern. The organization's mission focuses on mobilizing LGBTA individuals to fight for equal rights in America. The organization also provides legal services to indviduals who have experienced discrimination due to their sexual orientation.
In addition to his studies and two part-time jobs, Alexander belonged to the Eleanor Roosevelt Society, an intensive, student-led leadership and service program on campus. He also volunteered in the Englewood community teaching computer skills to at-risk students. "I see a lot of disparities that are really heartbreaking. Some kids feel left behind. There's a lot of work to be done, and these problems affect us all."
Alexander was also an active volunteer for the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Institute for America's Future and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and was on the Executive Planning Committee for CBGMC, a Chicago-based HIV/AIDS advocacy organization. After being asked to present at the 2009 National LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex) Health Summit regarding HIV awareness, he founded a youth advisory board to discuss and promote prevention for high-risk males, ages 16 to 24. "Until I educated myself on the issue, I was ignorant of how serious the threat [of HIV/AIDS] was, especially to the black community. It's an epidemic and needs to be addressed."
Alexander hopes to attend law school to defend civil rights and eventually run for office. "Roosevelt planted the seeds that have inspired me to pursue a life devoted to public service and the betterment of my community. I really do feel that people in my generation can make change. We're moving in the right direction..."
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