You’d never guess it when you meet him, but sophomore Kevin Linton used to be shy. He found a way to overcome his shyness in his junior year of high school, when he moved to North Conway, NH, and discovered that the best way to find your place in a community is to get involved. In his last two years of high school, he found a variety of ways to do just that – through Key Club, various committees, even being senior class president. He enjoyed being active, especially in ways that served others, and he brought this desire with him to UNH.
Within a month of arriving at UNH Kevin was already serving others as a first year student senator. His involvement in Student Senate built gradually and propelled him into other opportunities on campus. By his fourth semester on campus, the list of committees he was involved in was half a page long, spanning from academics to dining to residential life. He is a senator on the student activity fee committee, a member of both the Community Change and the Health and Human Services Councils…not to mention the chairperson of the Academic Affairs Council; the list goes on and on. Bottom line: Kevin is not someone who sits around.
Need further proof? Kevin is also involved in his home on campus, the Mini Dorms, where he has lived for two years. He is currently much-beloved as the Marston Hall Council president; he even has his own Facebook group full of devotees. Since coming out last October, Kevin has also gotten involved in the Alliance, UNH’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allied student organization. Diversity is important to him for personal reasons, but also because he thinks it is important to understand all people in order to be a better representative for them.
As Kevin puts it, “People assume there is no diversity here, but the student body is such a diverse group of people. I want to better understand this campus – and the only way to do it is to get involved in many different things.”
Though it would be easy to do so, Kevin doesn’t get swept up in his extracurriculars – he is devoted to his academic work as well. He has maintained a stellar GPA (earning a 4.0 in his first year), participates in the Honors program and is currently a History major, considering a switch to English. Taking the course “Revolutions Across the Atlantic” really challenged Kevin, especially to become a better critic and writer. He wrote a paper for the course which was selected as the best research paper by a first year or sophomore student. After completing the class, Kevin served as a writing fellow for the course (similar to a teaching assistant), helping first year students to write papers. Maintaining a sense of balance between academics and extra-curricular activities is important to Kevin.
Kevin’s advice to fellow students is, not surprisingly, to get involved.
“UNH is your home for at least four years,” he said. “You have a right to voice your opinion. You have a right to seek, inspire, and encourage change. You shouldn’t be apathetic because then you give up your right to complain. Things aren’t going to change themselves.”
With two years left on campus, who knows how long Kevin’s list of involvements will grow. He is contemplating running for student body president, a major commitment that would run for one full academic year. Kevin has already had an impact on many people at the university in his short time here, and also recognizes the influence that others have had on him. He has found support all over campus, including advisor/instructor Janet Polasky, hall director Sarah Linz, and first year orientation advisor and Finite Math review session leader Randy Schroeder. The list continues with the numerous students he works with in Senate, the Alliance, and the Marston Hall Council. After all, serving people is the reason Kevin is so involved on campus in the first place.
“I want to continue caring as much as possible and building relationships with students, administration, and faculty,” he explained. “I want to find innovative ways to continue to help people.”
As he finishes his time at UNH working toward a career as a teacher, Kevin will no doubt continue to help people on this campus and beyond.