Here at Campus Underdogs, we make a point of highlighting student leaders on campus who do big things and deserve their due. To this end, we make a point of looking beyond large campus organizations like the Students’ Association (SA) Government  to find these lesser-known leaders.

But there comes a time when we meet a campus leader whom, despite their affiliation with a big group, is  doing groundbreaking work for their fellow students and, we believe, deserves some time in the limelight.

Patrick Fink, a senior, is one of these leaders.      

Growing up in Fulton, N.Y., a small town outside Syracuse, Fink had big dreams. Despite coming of age in a town that he described as, “a place where no one goes anywhere,” Fink sought a broader horizon.

His home was a place of complements. His father was often deployed by the military, and his mother, whom he described as the “perfect woman,” helped to  create a stern household while always doing everything she could to ensure her children could do what they wanted to do. It was because this environment that Fink described himself as ultimately a shy kid, one who was, “very insecure for a long time.”

For Fink, this all changed in high school; he met Susan Dauphin, his world history teacher.

Of Dauphin, Fink had few words other than “literally the most influential person in my life.”

It would come to pass that Dauphin gave Fink the confidence he needed to make a positive influence on the world around him. At her insistence, Fink would run for and win his high school’s class presidency in his freshman year, a position he would hold for his entire high school career, serve as both his high school’s National Honor Society president and “academics president” (a liaison between the administration and the students) during his junior year, and serve as his school’s Student Senate president during his senior year.

But Fink believes these accomplishments pale next to the experience he believes was pivotal to breaking out of his shell. This moment would come in his sophomore year, during Dauphin’s annual “Leaders in History” tournament. In this competition, students would speak in front of their classmates on why a certain leader was the greatest in this history of the world. With Dauphin’s insistence, Fink took part. His speech on Caesar Augustus both won him both first prize in the contest and a lifelong passion for public speaking and leadership.

At UR, Fink continued his passion for service. However, he admitted that he found himself early on a bit too overzealous.

“I came in really ambitious,” he said, “joining a bunch of clubs, including the Finance Council, serving as hall president, and taking an overly-hard load including upper-level physics and math courses. My second semester, I took 24 credits. I dived in headfirst into everything.”

Despite his over-eagerness, Fink soon found organizations that he was passionate about. The first of these was rugby. Rugby, to Fink, was the “single-most formidable experience on this campus.”

Though he had done a number of sports in high school, rugby was something else entirely.

“I couldn’t believe how much passion these 35 guys have for each other and a sport they’ve never played before college. I would do anything for the people on this team.”

Fink’s penchant for leadership and his love for his club sports brought him to the role where he’s found the most ways to make an impact: the Club Sports Council (CSC). He originally joined because he wanted to learn more about club sports, and was enthralled because “everyone is so passionate about their club sports.”

It was around this same time that Fink began to rise in the ranks within the Student Association’s Appropriations Committee (SAAC), which works with club business managers to manage their budgets and resources.

As a member of SAAC, Fink saw club sports weren’t getting the resources he felt they needed. To this end, Fink has spent his college career rebuilding the Club Sports Council, leveraging his experience with SA to make it happen. During his tenure, Fink has rewritten the CSC manual, given CSC teams a voice in the approval of new club sports, and balanced the needs of casual club sports groups and those that are more competitive. Now, as the council’s president, Fink is excited to leave his legacy by doing what he can to help a part of campus that was pivotal to his Rochester years.


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