“If I can give to someone else what the people at SVSU have given me, then I’ll have accomplished something I can really be proud of.”
The instant Alicia Flynn stepped out of the car at Saginaw Valley, she knew it: This was where she wanted to go to college.
“What?” her mother said. “We just got here!”
Mrs. Flynn wasn’t kidding. The pair had visited about a dozen schools, driving hundreds of miles, tackling a college a weekend, a process that had taken several months.
And they’d just gotten to the parking lot.
But looking back on that pivotal moment, the education major says, “It just felt right. It felt like home.”
Call it what you’d like — women’s intuition or gut instinct — but Alicia Flynn’s snap judgment appears to have been spot on.
In her four years at SVSU, Alicia became
• a resident assistant
• a Roberts Fellow, spending a year studying leadership with business magnates before traveling through Asia.
• a peer adviser
• an Alternative Break taker, traveling all over the country to combat the effects of social issues
• a student ambassador, traveling to SVSU’s sister school in India—Kittur Rani Channamma Residential School for Girls
• the creator of a program to offer school supplies to local students in need
• the winner of the Campus Compact Commitment to Service Award
— and to crown her achievements, the 2011 homecoming queen.
A charmed college career, you might think.
But for Alicia, her first few days at her home away from Monroe didn’t start that way. Lonely and upset, she found herself walking into the Housing office to ask for help. That’s when everything changed.
“It’s my second week of college, and I’m being hysterical with this stranger, Nicholas Wagner, assistant director of housing (now special assistant to the Vice President of Enrollment),” she says now, laughing. But that day, she realized something about SVSU: When she sought advice, people came to her aid.
Soon, staff and faculty members would tell her about opportunities and say, “Alicia, I think you’d be good for this.” Today, the list speaks for itself.
But with all the things she’s done, Alicia says she doesn’t deserve the credit. “It’s the people here who believed in me.”
Now a teacher at Swan Valley Middle School, Alicia says her time at SVSU gave her a mission for the rest of her life.
“I think the worst thing I could do,” she says, “is have so many wonderful people invest what they have in me, and not pay it forward.
“If I can give to someone else what the people here have given me, then I’ll have accomplished something I can really be proud of.”