Albert Tanjaya

Senior of the Year Finalist: Albert Tanjaya

If you asked first-year Albert whether he thought he would be considered for the Senior of the Year Award, he probably would have said no. Albert had not wanted to attend the University of Pittsburgh and he had not wanted to stay after his first semester. It was not until the end of his first year that Albert truly understood what Pitt had to offer and how he could make an impact in the community. Albert is a co-founder of the Pi Sigma chapter of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, was vice president of external affairs of the Asian Student Alliance (ASA), and was involved in the Student Government Board.
 
Near the end of his first year, Albert sought out student groups and communities where he could feel comfortable. Albert volunteered with organizations like Jumpstart, a group that travels to schools in the Pittsburgh area to aid in closing the education gap in children. Being a part of many different communities gave Albert the chance to see the differences and similarities of issues within communities. He notes that marginalized groups often have similar issues of equity.
 
Through ASA and in connection with other student groups, Albert worked to dedicate the month of January for Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Heritage Month. Nationally, APIA Heritage Month is celebrated in May when students are on recess. It was important for Albert and Asian Pacific Island students that their heritage be recognized and celebrated within the University. For Albert, ASA represents a home for Asian American students and having their heritage recognized validates their space at Pitt. He knows that after he graduates the work to develop and grow as an organization and as a University will not end with him.
 
Albert TanjayaA drastic change from where he was his first year, Albert ran for the 2019 Homecoming Court. This is something he never thought he would have done, but he was honored and excited to be a part of that Pitt tradition. Although he did not think he fit at Pitt in the beginning, Albert feels a deep connection to the Pitt community and is grateful for the time he spent here.
 
Albert is most proud of the work he and others did to create Pitt Mutual Aid. This response team developed from community needs at the start of the current pandemic. After the University announced that students should not return to campus after spring break, the team came together to aid those who could not return home or needed assistance. The team coordinates and organizes a variety of services and assistance for Pitt students and members of the Pittsburgh community. Assistance includes transportation, storage, food, and much more. The team has seen continued growth in usage since its inception and continues to grow today.
 
After graduation, Albert will return to Philadelphia to enter the workforce. In the future, he plans to apply for a graduate program to study technology, computer science, and political science. His long-term goal is to work as a software or technical consultant to make policy changes to help marginalized communities.