Through Activism, Leadership and Service ESU Grad Leaves a Legacy
Leave a legacy. That’s all Keisha Kauffman, a senior from Hillsborough, N.J., wants to do. If you ask East Stroudsburg University faculty, staff and students that’s exactly what she has done.
Kauffman enrolled at ESU as a communication studies major, but she soon decided to make a change. “I was watching a lot of Law & Order: SVU and became fascinated with court proceedings,” she said. “I decided I wanted to pursue law. I became a double major in criminal justice and political science.”
In the classroom, Kauffman proves to be a standout student. She was inducted into the National Political Science Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Outside the classroom Kaufman is active on campus. She was an orientation leader for two years; a student ambassador for the Warrior Elite, serving as secretary her junior year and vice president her senior year; a member of the student senate, serving as vice president her senior year; president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Psi Xi Chapter; and captain of the cheerleading squad.
At the Student Recognition Awards held on April 30 on ESU’s campus, Kauffman was named Greek Woman of the Year. “I aided in the reactivation of my chapter. We were dormant for over 20 years,” she said. “I, along with two sorority sisters, set the tone to establish ourselves on campus by holding a variety of events and programs and in the community through service projects. I also spearheaded a culture Greek Council that will be active next year.” The sorority’s principles are scholarship, service, sisterhood, and finer womanhood. “There’s so much in those principles that I think I embody, or that I hope to embody,” Kauffman said. “I truly found myself after joining this sorority, and it has become my home away from home.” That makes sense, since Kauffman’s mother belonged to the sorority and her father belonged to their brother organization, Phi Beta Sigma.
At the Student Recognition Awards Kauffman was also presented the Shirley Chisholm Award for activism, leadership and service. Quick to stand up for something she believes is wrong, Kauffman took part in four rallies her senior year: The Trayvon Martin Hoodie Rally, marking the anniversary of Martin’s death; Take Back the Night; The Sexual Assault Walk and the Black Lives Matter Rally. To be recognized for this activism was emotional and humbling for Kauffman. “For faculty and administration to see in you something you don’t see in yourself and to make your parents proud – – that’s really cool.” Kauffman doesn’t see herself as a standout activist; she simply believes it is important to stand up for injustices.
“It makes sense that Keisha gets all these awards,” her friend Dontel Ducksworth, a senior theatre major from East Stroudsburg, said. “She goes out of her way to do everything she can for others. She stands for what she believes is right and she is very adamant in her beliefs. It is really nice to see someone who has all these qualities get recognized.”
Everything Kauffman does on campus and in the community is preparing her for her future. She hopes to go to law school, become a public defender and one day become a senator to push for legislation she feels can create the biggest impact on the justice system. “The Office of Multicultural Affairs has given me and other students so many opportunities to learn about social issues and get involved to combat those issues,” she said. OMA has helped her see what needs to be changed in this world and to take action.
Kauffman will graduate on Saturday, May 6, leaving ESU behind to begin her next chapter. “I think people know me for my loud personality. But this campus has made a huge impact on me,” she said. “I hope I am leaving behind an impact on this campus too.”