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Student thrives on helping others

By : Rachel Coker


As a young gay man growing up in and around Corning, Sean Maloney felt tremendously isolated.

Today, the human development major feels empowered to help others overcome such difficulties. Maloney, 22, turned an internship with the Southern Tier AIDS Program into a job. Since the fall, he has helped run a community-building project for STAP that focuses on educating and inspiring gay and bisexual men with the goal of getting them to want to protect themselves from AIDS.

“Gay men seem to be dispassionate about the epidemic these days,” he said. The program tries to build self-esteem and combat apathy while promoting healthy behaviors.

Maloney insists he’s not out to save the world, though. He just wants to help others help themselves. That’s what drove him to be a Mountainview resident assistant for three years, a campus tour guide for two years and an orientation adviser one summer.

Last summer found him aiding relief efforts related to the devastating floods in Greater Binghamton. “There are a lot of people in our area who are still cleaning up,” he said. “I think a lot of people are quick to forget about people in their own back yard who need help.”

Maloney, a competitive mini-golf and Scrabble player who knows how to juggle, has a wicked sense of humor as well as a twin sister who graduated from the State University College at Fredonia last week.

Jill Seymour, academic adviser in the College of Community and Public Affairs, said students and faculty alike are drawn to Maloney. “He’s open, he’s engaging, he’s excited about his education,” she said. “He’s unstoppable. I fully expect Sean to one day be heading a major nonprofit. He’s one of those people who’s going to make a difference in the world.”

Maloney will pursue a master’s degree in social work at Syracuse University this fall and, yes, he does dream of starting his own nonprofit organization one day.

“It would be a nationwide agency that would serve GLBT youths, especially in rural areas,” he said. “I’d take my personal experience and instead of dwelling on the negative, create positives for other people. I want to create positive social change.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08