Although he’s only a sophomore at St. John’s University, resident student Christopher Coes didn’t waste any time getting involved in campus activities.
This year, Coes, a government and politics major, is president of the Residence Hall Association (RHA), the residential representative and co-chair for the research and development committee for Student Government, vice present of public relations for Toastmasters and is a member of NAACP and Haraya.
This desire to be highly involved in what was going on in Coes’ environment developed early on in life.
“I guess you could say my involvement in activities started when I was a little kid, when I was probably 5 years old or even younger,” the Thomasville, Ga. native said. “All the way from [being a] little child all the way up to now I’ve always been strongly active.”
One example of Coes being involved long before he came to St. John’s would be the work that he did within his community back in Georgia.
“I even created a program for our youth juvenile system where instead of young people of our community going to the juvenile system we have a separate…thing where you get judged by a jury of your peers,” Coes said.
It was also back at home during middle school that Coes realized politics would be the right field for him.
“One of the things that they [my family] instilled in me was that the environment in which you live in you control,” he said. “You have an impact so, with that said, growing up my family always gave me the push just to be active and try to make your surroundings better and, because of that, I recognized that politics and political action was the way to go to further that.”
At St. John’s, Coes, through his many areas of involvement, has been able to develop his leadership and political skills even more. The role that Coes has played in his various organizations and his ability to serve the students on campus is something that he takes a great deal of pride in.
“I take pride knowing that in my two years I’ve seen numerous people…go into that mode where instead of just being self it’s more so we serve them,” Coes said. “It’s not about what we feel, it’s about what those we serve feel and because of that we take passion and we take pride in those we serve.”
After Coes graduates, he plans to continue to serve as many people as possible through a variety of different ways, one of which is by joining the Peace Corps.
“I plan, soon, to join the Peace Corps. I think that’s one of my ultimate goals,” said Coes. “Before I do anything else, I want to make sure I accomplish that to get that experience.”
Along with becoming a member of the Peace Corps, Coes also has hopes of one day being in a position that will enable him to help America’s youth.
“I also had a goal to help the youth movement throughout America because I believe that’s an essential on-tap resource of America. I think what makes America so real and true lies in the American youth,” he said. “I want to be in a position where I can empower the youth as well as help change the mentality at the adult level.”
As far as other SJU students are concerned, Coes feels that they should look at the college experience they are having and ask themselves if it is good or not. If the answer is no, he said that they should then ask themselves what they can do to change it and make it better.
“This is your experience. Take control of it and make it the best experience you can. It’s never too late.”