Student Organization of Kean University, the full-time undergraduate student government, has concluded its executive board elections with a total of 403 votes, and of those 403 votes, 367 of them went to Damion Wilson for the position of president.
A communication major hoping to join the Peace Corps or continue his education to get his master's degree, Wilson brings experience from past and present leadership roles, work, volunteering and his relationships he has built with the student body, to this new position.
He is currently the vice president of programming for Student Organization, but now feels that his experience will guide him into becoming a leader as president.
"I've hosted meetings, I've created my own organization, I've been an RA [Resident Assistant] for two years, I've been a CSR [Customer Service Representative]...so I'm very great with customer service and applying to what the students need," Wilson said.
He began working on campus through Residential Student Services (RSS) as a freshman, where he was a CSR and gave tours to incoming freshmen.
He then became a Summer Assistant (SA) and worked with the Exceptional Opportunities Center's Summer Bridge programs, later becoming an RA where he met even more people.
"I just kept going as I shifted positions," Wilson said. "And not only did I meet those people, I met everybody that was in [RSS] at the time; it just helped me grow into the person I am."
Wilson served as president of his high school and received many different awards, so he wanted to continue being involved with student government while in college.
"If there's anyway that I can excel, I try to look for that," Wilson said.
Throughout his time at Kean, since transferring here the second semester of his freshman year, he has been able to meet a great amount of people on campus and continues to love meeting new people on a daily basis.
"I've been able to meet a lot of the student body, which I feel is very important," Wilson said. "In order to lead the student body, you have to know the student body."
One of his biggest goals is to be able to know who the students really are.
But it was during his freshman year that he met Gerard Smithwrick, who served as a role model to Wilson. Smithwrick was president of Student Organization at the time.
"Gerard was one of those people that was outgoing, he was always dressed nice and I said 'I can do that' or 'I would like to do that,'" Wilson said.
Wilson has built strong relationships with students in the residential community and is continuing to build relationships with the commuter student population. He said it is a simple process: he reaches out to them and talks to them, gets to know them and builds a relationship.
"You don't have to go out and tell them all the time 'Hey, I am for you, I am Damion, I am President,' but all you have to do is just talk to them, get to know who they are," Wilson said.
He does not like to even mention his position until the end of a conversation, because he does not want students to feel intimidated to talk to him. Wilson wants students to feel like they have someone on their side, which is just what he did with a fellow classmate.
"He was a commuter and he was always talking about how he didn't have time to print, so I just opened his eyes to many different things that he didn't know was there," Wilson said.
It was such a simple gesture, but it had a lasting impact.
He has also realized that many students are often intimidated to speak their opinions as they feel that their voice may not be heard if they do. Wilson, however, wants to be the light that shows students that they have the power to speak out and they should.
"You can speak out, you will speak out, we will speak out, so it's not an 'I' anymore," Wilson said, "it's a we, because we are the student body, so whenever someone has a problem, we have a problem now."
One of Wilson's major goals while fulfilling this position is to have Student Organization stand out more among the student body.
"Whether it's just being the talk, like 'Oh did you hear about what Student Organization did,' I want them to know, to absolutely know that we are there for them, we are their voice," Wilson said.
His vision is to see the Student Government and the student body intertwine and know that this organization is there for the students. He wants the student body to know what services and programs the Student Government has to offer for them.
"I want them to eventually get into a thing where everybody is wanting to be a part of Student Government because it's a great organization to be a part of," Wilson said.
Although many people have inspired and motivated Wilson along the way, he said that the upperclassmen when he was a freshman inspired him the most because they saw potential.
"There were seniors that were walking around and saying 'Hey Damion, you could be the next president,'" Wilson said.
They saw something in him, he was motivated to show it and now it is his time to shine.
"I don't like to disappoint anyone so I would like to show them that, what they see can be true, it can all be true," Wilson said.
Wilson is very open to students contacting him however they can, with any questions or concerns. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.