Emma Patterson hopes that serving as the new Allan Hancock College student trustee will be just the beginning of a long career as a public servant.  Patterson, a 20-year-old full-time student from Arroyo Grande, was sworn in as the new trustee on Tuesday, Oct. 19.  She will serve as a representative for Hancock students on the board of trustees until June 2011.

“I’m excited to be able to serve as a liaison between the students and the board of trustees,” Patterson said.

As a political science major, Patterson said she is especially excited to take part in the political process because she hopes to someday be a politician or work in government.  Already, Patterson has become involved in the student government on campus, serving as the student activities commissioner for the Allan Hancock College Associated Student Body Government during the 2010 spring semester.

“When I first got involved in the leadership program at Hancock it was to make friends and also give back to the college,” Patterson explained.  “But the more I learned, the more I realized that I truly have the power to change things for the better.”

Patterson wants to share her love of politics with her fellow students, both as their trustee and by starting a new club on campus dedicated to following local politics.  She plans to call the club Follow Pol-Lo and wants to invite local politicians and others working in local, county and state government to come and speak to the club.

“I think it’s important to be involved in local politics because that’s where progress starts,” Patterson said.

The desire to help and to become involved in her community has always been a part of Patterson’s life.  Diagnosed with leukemia at age two and in remission since she was five years old, Patterson said that her early experiences have taught her to be thankful for what she has.  She also has a strong desire to give back to others.  She is a longtime volunteer at the American Cancer Society’s Camp Reach for the Stars in Cambria, a summer camp for kids with cancer and their families.

“When you’re given a fresh chance at life, it’s only natural to want to help other people too,” she explained.

As student trustee Patterson said she hopes that she can help her fellow students have their voices heard.  She would also like to see students get more involved with student government and take advantage of everything that Hancock has to offer.

“I’m proud to serve on the student government of a college that really cares about its students and wants them to have a voice,” Patterson said.  “I want students to feel free to come up to me and let me know what’s important to them so that I can truly represent their interests.”