A sophomore majoring in business administration, Jerimiah Butler's campus life includes such activities as Alternative Winter Break, building relationships and contacts, and devoting time to his church.

Where were you born and raised? 

In Syracuse, just 45 minutes south. It's a nice easy drive in the summer, if not the winter. I went to Cicero-North Syracuse High School. High school was awesome! I'm one of the students who can look back on high school and say, "I miss it." I wrestled from fifth grade through high school. I was involved in many clubs, and I'm kind of transitioning that in different ways here.

When did you enroll at SUNY Oswego, and what drew you here?

I started here in fall 2017. The major thing that drew me to SUNY Oswego was the AACSB (Association for the Advancement for Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation. I thought that would prepare me for future careers, future leadership positions. The beautiful lake and the sunset were just the cherry on top.

Are you in the four- or five-year program for business administration?

I'm in the four-year undergraduate program, but I want to transition into the five-year program (leading to bachelor's and MBA degrees).

What do you think of the SUNY Oswego faculty you've encountered so far?

The professors are different from what I expected. As a senior in high school, the knowledge I had of college was from movies and media. You see "the mean professor" and hear about how hard they are and not being understanding at all. When I came to Oswego, that totally flipped around. I've found such a comfort in the classroom. The professors here are helpful. They are passionate about what they teach. From my experience -- I go to office hours a lot -- they have a desire for students to be successful.

What do you think of your fellow SUNY Oswego students?

I think they're very intelligent -- including our incoming students. Working on the Orientation team, I had the opportunity and absolute honor to meet them. This year, we had the most applications to Oswego ever, about 13,000. They're intelligent and determined and they are passionate about what they want in their life, their career. They're hardworking.

Have you had a course you enjoyed more than you thought you would?

I read the Oswego Guarantee as a freshman, about the availability of small classes, often under 20 students. A small class I was put into was English 102 with Stephanie Pritchard. Growing up, I didn't like English at all. Yet I was greeted by the nicest professor, who immediately captured my attention in her desire for us to be successful in her class. She involved us in the "Voices of Oswego Veterans" project. I interviewed this awesome guy, a retired Army veteran who lives in Pulaski. He was finishing up his MBA in accounting and studying for his CPA here. We recorded and spent time with him. A lot of it was outside-of-class learning. It was my first time working in a team of students. The end project was phenomenal, and our work was featured in Penfield Library. I didn't think I could do something that big as just a first-year student.

What are you thinking about for down the road, academically and in a career?

That's a shoot-for-the-stars kind of thing. The opportunities are endless. I like to take advantage of all the opportunities that come to me -- and that has put me in this chair talking to you. (Laughs.) Career goals? I'm torn between two, and I think I'm going to do both -- if you can't pick, you might as well do both! I'm very interested in the healthcare field. Before I chose to take a business route, I wanted to be a doctor. But I looked at the business side (of healthcare), and that interested me more. I would like to be a CEO of a hospital. On Sundays, I want to have my own church as a part-time pastor. Those are my two passions.

What activities have you gotten involved with here?

I'm a member of our BASIC club -- Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I just obtained a teaching assistant position in Management 261 ("Business Organization") with Larry Maher. It's a different experience. It makes you uncomfortable at first, but where there's discomfort, there's the most growth. I spent a summer on the Orientation team. I picked up a job at the bookstore this year. I used to be a resident mentor in the FYRE (First-Year Resident Experience) program.

What was it like to be a resident mentor?

I taught a class with students in Johnson Hall, a first-year-residential-only building. It was amazing to be in a position to be able to mentor students and get them through that critical first year of college. Looking back on it, it was probably one of my favorite experiences -- being in a strategic position in a hall with residents that needed support, guidance, advice.

I understand you also were co-leader of an Alternative Winter Break in Omaha?

That was an honor in itself. Between Jan. 19 and 27, we worked with Habitat for Humanity. It put me in a unique position -- I was the only male in a group with seven females. (Laughs.) To my surprise, it didn't affect my ability to co-lead the group at all. It was a lot of fun. We met with a homeowner who came to the United States from East Africa. He has six children. We were finishing up the beautiful build of a five-bedroom, two-bathroom home. We worked most of the week together, with full access to the power tools and equipment. On Day 1 and 3, we put in baseboard molding and did some caulking around fixtures. On Day 2, we went to a demolition site where they were keeping (just) the frame and structure (of a building). We got to smash out all the walls -- I saw firsthand at this site what my high school wrestling coach told me: "The girls are tougher than the guys." Erica Doering, the other group leader, and I had the opportunity to take down a ceiling from above, in the attic.

Can you sum up the first homeowner's reaction to your work? 

He was working on the site with us. He was absolutely thrilled we were putting sweat equity into his home. So thrilled, in fact, that he brought us a Somali dish that he and his family made called sambusa, on Day 2 right to the (second building's) demolition site. Similar to an empanada, it's fried dough with meat and peppers and such inside. I told him my team loved it! He said, "I'm going to make you some more." The night before we left, he gave us an entire pan of sambusa. In Nebraska, we had a dish from East Africa!

Do you see yourself becoming involved with other activities on campus?

One opportunity can lead you to an equal or greater opportunity. It's kind of like a staircase. Orientation team and resident mentor are on some people's top stairs, and that was just my first couple of steps. So I know there are going to be other steps. I would love to have an assistant's position in the President's Office in Culkin Hall -- something that's way down the path. In high school, I was president of my school's Superintendent Advisory Council. One thing I'd like to bring to SUNY Oswego is a president's student cabinet. Also, something I did with a team of three people headed by Zach Visco of SUNY Upstate was a Chrome extension, SUNY Oswego-themed, with quick links to SUNY Oswego email, Blackboard, The Oswegonian, the campus calendar and all of their favorite apps -- Facebook, Amazon, YouTube. Zach made this for Upstate and shared it with us. I have met with a top technology official here, and I'm hopeful.

What are your "off-the-job" interests?

I take pride in the relationships I have. I like to grow my relationships with people, whether it's going to get coffee or to the movies or to a basketball game here on campus. I thrive off of friendships, conversations with people and laughter with those people. I like being involved with the greater picture. I like being a leader. I like helping my peers improve themselves, while at the same time growing my skillsets. I like to spend time at church in South Butler, about 45 minutes from here. I found myself there when a girl I had met dragged me to church one weekend. I started going to church every Sunday so I could see this girl. (Laughs.) But it wasn't too long till I realized why I was there -- not for her, but for Him. This was a year and a half ago, and I've been going ever since. I've gotten involved, and I now work on the media team and I'm a greeter. I control the video outputs in the sanctuary.

What can you tell us about your family?

I come from a big family. I am in the middle, with a twin sister, an older brother, an older sister and two younger brothers. My dad works for National Freight Industries and my mom works for a security agency in Watertown. They're a cool bunch, that's for sure.