SGA, local officials talk social advocacy

Written by Julie Walsh/ Contributing Writer

Local officials visited the campus to discuss using social media and technology to make change.

“The challenge is to find where you will advocate and be an agent of change,” said Anitere Flores, state senator. “There are so many things happening in the world and you know about all of them.”

According to Flores, millennials have taken to social media to their advantage to make change. Flores was a panelist at an advocacy focused event organized by the Student Government Association with other local officials.

An “agent of change” focuses efforts on the effect of changing technologies, structures and tasks on interpersonal and group relationships within the organization.

Flores said that due to social media and the internet, there’s no excuse to not know about what’s happening in the world.  

Alian Collazo, SGA senate speaker, said the topic of discussion was “important to student government, FIU and the community.”

The event was an opportunity for students to connect with local and federal officials to discuss issues like higher education and career aspirations, said SGA lobbying coordinator Juan A. Gilces.

The panelists also included Bryan Avila, state representative, Chris Miles, deputy chief of staff and district director for Congressman Carlos Curbelo, and Ralph Ventura, chief of staff for Orlando Lopez, the mayor of Sweetwater.

They sat among students, SGA members and organizers.

The panelists spoke about their leadership journey, the role of millennials to shape the future in the public service sector and how University students and graduates have played a role in the community.

Flores emphasized the leadership journey.

“[It’s] every single day, being a little bit better than you were yesterday and tomorrow being better than you were today,” she said.

Avila said that taking a leadership role means taking advantage of every opportunity that comes up — whether it’s in the community, school or a public office.

“You have to make sure that you always consistently work hard but never forget to stay humble,” he said.  

Flores said she writes a pro and con list whenever an opportunity arises to see whether she should act on it.

She uses this technique to get rid of her self-doubt.

Avila talked about how the advancement in technology has become a distraction to society.

He said the level of focus and concentration that is required today is one that prior generations did not need to have due to the fact that advances in technology didn’t exist.

“Certainly you can see presidential candidates in the election on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, and any form that they can get their messages out,” said Avila. “That is something that is evident in terms of your level of engagement that could bring opportunities to be agents of change.”

Avila wasn’t the only one who felt this way at the panel.

As a student advocate, I truly encourage students to be informed and engage with their elected officials,” Gilces said. “From panels, such as these, to meaningful relationships with leaders that once were students like us.”

The panelists voiced their personal perspectives on the University’s role in the community.

“If you look across the county, most of its leaders went to FIU for either undergraduate, or a degree. FIU is at the forefront,” Miles said. “You have a phenomenal law school, medical school and I don’t know what’s next. FIU just keeps growing and growing.”

Photo Courtesy of Nathalie De Almagro

Be the first to comment on "SGA, local officials talk social advocacy"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.