Editorial: FIU in DC – a questionable move

Photos courtesy of FIU Governmental Relations

 

An FIU center in Washington, D.C. was launched the week of June 6, with the help of several donors and sponsors. Various seminars were held from June 6-10, exercising the office’s potential to be a thinkspace and networking venue.

There is too little information online for the thousands of members of the FIU community based in Miami to form a definitive stance on the new office. The official website for the project, washingtondc.fiu.edu, claims that FIU intends to “provide competitive advantage for our students, faculty and alumni; access to thought leaders; one-of-a-kind learning and research experiences; and amplify our voice in national dialogue,” with the space.

We are unable to objectively decide what the office can potentially become for FIU, other than a space to network. This, in itself, is a problem especially when considering the undisclosed cost to build the office.

While the office seems to have been funded mostly by sponsors and donors, notably Maria Elena Toraño, founding president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, we wonder if these funds could have been put to better use.

A member of the FIU Student Media editorial board has personally been to the site and feels apprehensive about the range of benefits for students. We fear this may be another initiative which the University promotes as beneficial for students, but fails to show any real benefit other than being good publicity. Only a portion of FIU students will benefit from the new office, based on their interest in politics alone, and an even smaller demographic of those students will ever be chosen for the competitive D.C. internship.

The internship offers members $500 a week, and obligates students to arrange their own housing. Regardless, this is a unique opportunity for FIU students who are interested in government and advocacy.

The DC office is being promoted as a space to network and think, though FIU may have overlooked that brains are portable. Thinking is not limited to physical walls. It is the thought of this editorial board that there are many local ventures that should have been explored before expanding into other states, especially when considering only a handful of students will be chosen for the internship.

We wonder whether the office will surpass its opportunity cost or if bringing the 305 to the 202 will deprive students on campus of potential funding for local possibilities.

 

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