Taylor Deer is glad that he lost his first two elections. If he had won either campaign, he probably wouldn’t be RIT’s new Student Government president.
Deer, a fourth-year management major from Williamsville, N.Y., visited more than 10 schools before deciding early-decision on RIT.
“I took a tour, went to a hockey game and was convinced that I would love it here,” Deer says. “There was also the fact that both my parents are RIT alumni.”
For most of Deer’s first three years at RIT, life revolved around his original major, civil engineering technology, and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Having held several smaller leadership roles within the fraternity, he ran for president, but lost in his first major election. Wanting to be a leader in Greek life, Deer ran for president of RIT Interfraternity Council later that same month.
“I lost that election by just one vote,” Deer remarks. “I lost two positions that I really wanted in just a three-week period—I didn’t know what to do.”
A few months passed, but Deer wasn’t finished yet. He learned about the new Greek Senator position within RIT Student Government. What better way to serve the Greek community that he was so passionate about than working as Greek Senator?
“I campaigned right through the last day to get enough signatures from different Greek chapters,” Deer says. “And who would have guessed it? I ended up tying that race.”
After a recount and a second election, Deer secured the senator position, where he helped to unify Greek organizations on campus and head a sprint football committee. In addition to Deer’s changing role in Student Government, he decided to make a switch from engineering to business.
“I took an entire quarter of business classes for a minor and ended up loving it,” Deer says. “I don’t regret one second of civil engineering technology because it made me analytical, but my true passion is management.”
The change also had a positive effect on Deer. With some persistence, he was able to land a consulting co-op with Foxwise Technologies USA in Henrietta.
“The company wasn’t hiring at the time, but I was determined to get that co-op,” Deer says. “Sometimes you just can’t take ‘no’ for an answer. That’s how I got the co-op and the Student Government position.”
Sarah Thomas, a third-year finance student from Clifton Park, N.Y., joins Deer in Student Government as vice president.
The pair hopes to enhance student life by finding a space on campus prioritized for clubs to meet and store items, expanding the Tiger East End Express bus system and altering the event registration system to help link organizations with similar values and encourage student innovation.
“I used to be the kid who would wonder, ‘What does Student Government really do?’ ” Deer says. “By the end of this year, I want everyone at RIT to know what we are doing.”