Leaders sacrifice their time for success

Nick Zinovenko, Staff Writer

Passion, dedication and commitment are required of Pitt-Johnstown students to lead organizations.

One student who displays these qualities is senior Sarah Rich, Best Buddies organization’s president.

Best Buddies is a non-profit organization in which members befriend Johnstown area adults with mental or physical disabilities.

Upon meeting, members are required to contact them four times per month, and meet them in person at least twice per month, usually at organized events.

Rich joined the organization in her freshman year and became president during her sophomore spring.

“I really liked the organization, and wanted a leadership role,” Rich said.

Rich said this semester has been tumultuous as information about the buddies was not received until October.

“We usually get buddy information in August, so having to wait until October really set us back,” Rich said.

While this is Rich’s final semester as president, she said she would like to see the organization expanded.

“The same buddy list has been used since my freshman year, so I’d like to see that expanded,” Rich said.

Nicole Oakes, Pitt-Johnstown Habitat for Humanity’s president, said members volunteer in the Somerset and Cambria areas.

Oakes joined the organization in her freshman year, was elevated to the Fundraising Chair as a sophomore, and became the president as a senior.

Oakes said it was the yearly spring break trip that made her want to stay and eventually become the organization’s president.

“The trip (during) my freshman year was so humbling, and made me realize how good it felt to help others and give back to the world,” Oakes said.

As president, Oakes is in charge of organizing volunteering projects and the annual spring break trip.

“In years past we’ve had a maximum of about 130 members, although the freshmen don’t seem as willing to join anymore,” Oakes said.

According to Oakes, Habitat for Humanity was once the largest Pitt-Johnstown organization, and Oakes said she would like to see it reach that level again.

Mithali Mehta, a Pitt-Johnstown freshman, formed the organization AshaVida in her first semester.

Mehta said she created the organization as she felt Pitt-Johnstown needed a medical-based community-service group.

“Someone told me that if a place doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you should make it yourself,” Mehta said.

She said she had found success with the club, gathering over 110 members.

She said it may be expanded to Pitt-Greensburg and Pitt-Oakland.

The success has not come without significant effort, however.

“I honestly spend about five hours a day working on things for the club,” Mehta said.

She said this was most likely due to the fact that the club has just started, and that she expects the workload to go down eventually.

“Overall the school has been very supportive, although it did take over a month to get official recognition,” Mehta said.

Thomas Plutt, a Pitt-Johnstown junior, is president of both the Anime Club and the Role-Playing Games Club.

Plutt joined the Role-Playing Games Club in his freshman year, and the Anime Club in his sophomore year.

Plutt said he ran for president of the role-playing club because he enjoyed the club and had ideas on how to improve it.

Plutt was originally only planning to be Anime Club vice-president, however, due to the planned president leaving Pitt-Johnstown, he was promoted.

“A lot of people who are interested in role-playing games are also interested in anime,” Plutt said.

According to Plutt, there are about 60 members collectively between the two clubs, with about 80 percent belonging to both.

“Since so many people are involved in both, it makes it easier to be president of both clubs at the same time.”

Nonetheless, Plutt estimated he spends about 20 hours a week organizing and running events between the two clubs, which is still less than the 30 hours a week he put in the previous semester.

Plutt said that while he will maintain his position as Anime Club president next semester, a new president is to take his place for the Role-Playing Games Club.