Clemson students have elected the first ClemsonLIFE student to represent them on the Student Senate.
“I’m feeling good about it. I’m very proud of myself,” said Brian Sanniota. The 20-year-old sophomore from Charlotte plans to graduate in 2020.
ClemsonLIFE is a university program which provides education for students with intellectual disabilities, focusing on functional academics. The program is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year.
“Our goals for them upon graduation include getting a job and learning to live independently,” instructor Kimberly Zogran said. “So math class isn’t multiplying and dividing. It’s about how do you pay your bills? How do you follow a budget? How do you leave a tip at a restaurant? Apartment class is how do you cook your own meals? How do you clean?”
When asked why he enrolled in ClemsonLIFE, Sanniota responded, “I want to learn to be responsible and to get a job and live on my own when I graduate.”
Sanniota said he loves the Clemson experience.
“I love hanging out with my friends and meeting new ones every day at Clemson,” he said.
Sanniota has attended his first Student Senate meeting and has been assigned to the University Services committee.
“We have a big support here at Clemson University for our program,” Zogran said. The LIFE program has eight full-time staff and about 500 student volunteers.
Because of its work with ClemsonLIFE, Clemson Athletics was recognized as a 2018 Game Changer by the ACC.
Sanniota has a message for kids with intellectual disabilities: “You are special enough to go to college. Everything is great. The teachers are awesome. If you go to college, it will change your life.”