Turning Passion into Action: SGA President Reflects on the Positive Power of Leadership

Published: December 14, 2016

Farbod Hadizadeh Moghadam’s fascination with international politics reaches back to his roots as an Iranian American. His interest in the subject began with Middle East politics but soon evolved into a keen awareness of the complex problems faced by many countries around the world.

“I often imagine what it must be like to ‘walk in the shoes’ of world leaders who constantly deal with immense pressures. I like to contemplate how I would approach and solve some of these issues.”

Farbod grew up in Fresh Meadows, Queens, where he attended Razi High School, and during his senior year he decided to turn his political passion into action. He ran for Class President, but lost by a decisive margin. The lessons learned from that experience stayed with him and served as a clear reminder of what ‘not to do’ when running for office.

“After that experience I felt hesitant to run for office at Queensborough, but my competitive drive won out.”

Before his election victory at Queensborough on July 1, 2016, Farbod ran an intense week-long campaign, spending hours each day speaking with students and learning what improvements and changes they were looking for on campus. He spent 12 hours a day on campus, studying late at night and during the weekend.

“If the election results at Queensborough had turned out the same as at my high school, I might have a different perspective. But what I have come to realize is that getting involved makes a difference, no matter the outcome.”

Since being elected President of the Student Government Association (SGA), he has demonstrated what making a difference means.  He has collaborated with student leaders of various clubs and activities on campus to facilitate change on several fronts, most recently expanding the student cafeteria menu to include vegan and halal options. 

“Successful ideas call for teamwork, patience and collaboration. My goal is to inspire students to become engaged with these projects, to empower them as part of the team and then help them become leaders themselves.”

Along with handling an 18-credit hour semester and maintaining a strong G.P.A., Farbod conducts political science research on immigration policy in the Middle East, acts as a mentor for Queensborough’s Men Achieving and Leading in Excellence and Success (M.A.L.E.S.), and attends student-related meetings both on and off campus. He rarely leaves campus before 9:00PM.

When asked what he’d like to do if he had any spare time, Farbod said he’d like to return to practicing the Korean martial art Tae Kwon Do, for which he won the Black Belt Gold Medal at the 2011 New York State open tournament at Queens College (CUNY).

Though Farbod still has another semester to complete before graduation, he understands the importance of his legacy as a student leader, one who empowers other student leaders and future student government officers to make positive changes at the College. His remaining priorities include efforts to establish a foundation for shuttle bus service to campus and to improve accessibility for the disabled.

Farbod plans to graduate this spring from Queensborough with an A.S. degree in Liberal Arts, with a concentration in International Studies. He plans to continue his education at a four-year college or university to pursue a career in political science.

“I want to have a positive impact on the lives of as many people as I can, whether as a politician, a professor, a dad or a husband.”

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