FIU News recently had a Zoom chat with Alexandra Valdes, president of the Student Government Association (SGA) for MMC and university trustee.
A pandemic together with civil rights unrest is not exactly how Valdes imagined her SGA presidency would start. A true optimist, the rising senior majoring in political science and international relations is choosing to be a proactive leader during these challenging times.
Valdes is tapping into her professional experience as a state senator intern and employee in the Office of the Speaker of the Florida House, Jose Oliva, to advance solutions for issues affecting Panthers and empower students.
Born to immigrant Cuban parents, Valdes is in pursuit of her version of the American Dream. After graduation, she hopes to attend law school and work for either a nonprofit organization or a state senator, congressman or congresswoman in Washington, D.C.
But this driven Panther has no intentions of stopping there.
“My ultimate goal is to work in the White House and run for president of the United States—fingers crossed,” Valdes says.
As for what her plans are as SGA president and university trustee, this is what Valdes had to say:
(Note: Some of the questions have been edited for brevity and clarity.)
What is your #1 priority as SGA president?
My vice president, Alex Ibarria and I created a massive platform, which we’ve had to make some changes to because of the pandemic. Since things are changing 24/7, we are focusing on what students need right now. However, our mission to benefit FIU students remains the same.
Promoting academic success, advocacy, student engagement, and student diversity and equity in general are key priorities for me.
As student leaders, we need to adapt and make changes at FIU that will to lead to permanent victories as President Rosenberg says. Something we are currently working on is a bill that will require all our student leaders to take the Social Justice and Equity course offered by the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services. This will help to bridge the gap between implicit bias and education that exists in our community. We also need to create a conversation between the administration and students to create change. To do so, I want to work with the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services to create workshops for student leaders, organizations and clubs across FIU.
What have you found to be the most exciting aspect of your position so far?
As a university trustee, I’m able to have conversations with the administration and see how dedicated they are to students’ success, and I get to share that with students. It is exciting to work with people who really care about FIU students and want me to be part of that process and succeed in my role.
What advice do you have for FIU Panthers?
Get out of your comfort zone. Make memories at FIU—not only in class, but outside of class, too. Join a club that you would've never joined. Meet people. Make an impact and leave your own small footprint at FIU.
What is your favorite Panther tradition?
Homecoming is one of the best ways to see FIU’s community come together. It’s amazing to see so many FIU students feel passionate about their university— whether it’s going to football games or taking part of homecoming activities.
What do you miss most about being on campus?
I miss it all! I miss being in the SGA office. I miss walking through GC and seeing everyone. I miss going to class. I miss being social, meeting new people, and connecting with people in general. I miss everything!
Anything else you want students to know?
I’m very excited and feel very honored and privileged to be able to serve in this capacity. I’m making the maximum effort to give students the best FIU experience they can have and provide them with an endless amount of resources for their student success.