You Can Be Connected – Cem Özsümer ('23)
“You Can Be Connected” — Cem Özsümer (’23, Major in Computer Information Systems, Minor in IDCC)
Once Cem made the move from Izmir, Turkey to Waltham, Massachusetts for college, he gained a very new perspective on life. For the first time in his life, his identity was something he frequently thought about. He realized he was in a specific group of people at Bentley: international students. This demographic of students has been immensely important to him, and his identity as an international student would go on to influence all of his involvements at Bentley.
He knew that if he wanted to make an impact for international students on this campus, he would have to apply his strengths of communication and I.T. Knowing that everyone has a different background before coming to college, he wanted to meet students from all perspectives and cultures. This pushed him to join a myriad of organizations that all aim to advocate for other students and make changes. He is the I.T. committee senator for SGA and a member of the Class of 2023 Class Cabinet.
“I wanted to teach others about my culture, where I’m from, and help to break down misconceptions and prejudices.”
His other involvements have grown to the Bentley International Student Association where he serves as the external communications secretary, he is a Bentley Worldview ambassador, a member of the Student Equity& Inclusion Fellowship, the Vice President of the Honors Council, and an employee of the CIS Sandbox.
Cem has done great work in all these organizations, but is particularly proud of the work he did over the summer, working for the Summer Action Council. This was a panel of students that helped provide faculty with a student perspective while they were making decisions about what our campus would look like in Fall 2020 amidst the pandemic. Cem worked hard to advocate for the needs for international students; many of them were stuck in a different time zone very far from campus, and Cem needed to make sure that they still felt a part of the Bentley community.
“If I’m able to help someone, I have to do it”.
Now, during Spring 2021, Cem continues to advocate for his peers. It can get overwhelming balancing so many tasks, but he loves to do it, because he knows he is making strides in the right direction for international students. Now, he is looking forward to planning the Festival of Colors, an event held by ISA every year which involves almost all of the cultural orgs.
“I would tell incoming freshmen to take advantage of Bentley’s tight knit community”
Cem hopes that in the future organizations will continue to find ways to creatively communicate with each other. One thing he has learned during this year of uncertainty is that frequently communicating with and staying connected to the people around you are essential. He has found that Bentley is such a tight-knit, close community where all students are connected in some way. His advice to anyone coming here would be to dive right in!