By Eric Feldman
With his bags barely unpacked, senior John Llanera stepped onto FIU’s campus this fall with a renewed excitement to achieve the goals he has set for himself. Llanera spent the summer jet setting across the nation attending leadership conferences and learning ways he can leave his mark on FIU.
Eradicating global poverty is a mission Llanera is very passionate about, so when he received an email about an opportunity to be a student representative for Oxfam at FIU, he jumped on it.
As a CHANGE Leader for the organization, Llanera will work with students and faculty to spread awareness of social change by hosting on-campus meetings and activities.
Currently in the works, Llanera is planning a Hunger Banquet, a simulation scenario developed by Oxfam to help participants appreciate the reality of the inequitable distribution of food in society. The Global Learning Medallion student also wants to help students contact their elected representatives about poverty-related topics and legislation important to them.
In July, Oxfam flew Llanera to Eastern Nazarene College, near Boston, for leadership training. The training sessions prepared him to fulfill the responsibilities of a CHANGE Leader while also equipping him with leadership skills that will follow him past his FIU graduation. Llanera found all the informational sessions worthwhile, especially one about creating an effective branding campaign by keeping messaging straightforward.
Equipped with a new set of skills, Llanera flew off to Chicago for another new experience. As the co-president of GlobeMed he’s required to attend the organization’s annual Leadership Institute at Northwestern University. His greatest takeaway was learning how to forge a stronger relationship with Escuela de la Calle (EDELAC) in Guatemala, FIU’s long-term community partner.
During the three-day training, Llanera compared notes with leaders of other chapters on some of FIU’s successful fundraising events that are unique to FIU and learned of different ways to improve the university’s chapter.
“I am better prepared to improve our club’s communication with our partners,” he said.
Across these experiences, Llanera met new people and experienced new places along with acquiring leadership knowledge. He strongly believes the leadership summits he attended have built the foundation for his success and is ready to put his new found skills to use at FIU.
To make sure you are aware of when global learning leadership opportunities like John’s are available, sign up for the Global Learning Medallion at http://goglobal.fiu.edu/medallion.