When a person who is new to Eastern comes and looks around at how beautiful the campus is, one could think of the people who make this institution the way it is today. People who have influenced and mentored others. People who want to find answers to why things are a certain way. All for our curious minds to ponder and think about. One person in particular has not only made that impact on waking up the world, but also laid the foundation for future classes not only to experience but to build upon as well. Danielle Semsey, a communications senior from Closter, New Jersey has made that extra step to make an impact on herself and the university.
Over the past year, she has been involved in a group called the Master Plan Task Force, a task force designed to give select students the opportunity to voice their concern about university policy. When Danielle heard about the tuition raise this past year, she was so frustrated that she emailed President Duffett to talk about the matter. He gladly accepted the invitation. During this conversation, President Duffett mentioned the task force that he was developing and asked her if she would want to be a part of it. Danielle accepted the offer and went around different parts of the campus, quizzing students about what campus changes they would like to see. Her brightest moment came when she was invited to speak to the Board of Trustees about the changes that students hoped to see on campus. “One of the coolest opportunities was being able to stand up in front of all those people and be the voice of Eastern’s student body,” Semsey reflects. One of the immediate impacts of the task force was to develop a mall shuttle for the weekends. Students reserve their seat on the mall shuttle and pay one dollar to ride it to the King of Prussia mall. Not only does the mall shuttle help students out but also allows Eastern University to make some money as well to aid in the budget a bit. All of this would not have happened for sure if it was not for Danielle’s sense of change and the support of the people around her.
Semsey’s efforts extend past the campus of Eastern University. In addition to her work on the Master Plan Task Force, she currently interns with Young Lives, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping teenage mothers in the area. For Semsey, this experience has been profoundly impactful, and it is the continuation of a family tradition; her mother was a director for a crisis pregnancy center for four decades. She also interns for another company, Renaissance Communications. They are the middle man between organizations, celebrities, events going on in the community, and the media outlets. Both of these internships give Semsey a chance to use her talent in the field of communications to live out the virtues of faith, reason, and justice that she has honed while at Eastern.
After Danielle graduates in May with a degree in communications, she intends to go into the public relations field and pursue what she most enjoys: working with people and media outlets so that they can be successful. She does leave these words of wisdom for incoming class of 2020: “College is a time where you get to hear other people’s opinions, and just having an open mind is so important. When something is on your mind, speak up, because you never know who is listening.” Semsey is right; we should all begin to speak up, no matter if we’re starting our college careers or ending them.