Political science major Vanessa Cadavillo is DePaul’s Student Government Association president for the 2015-16 academic year. In the essay below, she discusses some of her favorite DePaul memories and experiences, as well as goals for the year ahead.
How has it been four years already? My time at DePaul has been one of change, transition and growth. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the challenges I’ve faced that have led to my senior year here. As I embark on my final year as an undergraduate, I reflect on the everlasting memories I’ve made and look at the possibilities ahead. With that, I am excited to share my top five hopes and aspirations for the year to come.
5. Student Government Association
The Student Government Association (SGA) has been a staple of my time at DePaul. I joined my freshman year and was elected senator for first-year students. Then, this past spring, I was elected as SGA president. It has made me proud to see the amount of work and tangible change this organization has brought to DePaul over the years. From implementing water bottle refill stations throughout various buildings to promoting schoolwide affinity and tradition to addressing student concerns regarding well-being and tuition, the SGA has been essential in voicing the student perspective.
This year, I look forward to seeing the innovative changes that the organization will implement to again make a meaningful impact on the student body. In addition, it excites me to see new faces and perspectives on SGA, and I can’t wait to see how the senators, cabinet members, student organizations and university partners collaborate in the months ahead.
4. MAP Lobby Day
It has become a tradition for SGA representatives to go down to Springfield each spring and advocate for continued funding for the Illinois State Monetary Award Program (MAP). With one in five students at DePaul receiving this grant, it is vital that we continue to relay to our state legislatures how this fund impacts students’ abilities to obtain higher education. In addition to our MAP lobby day, we have several advocacy days throughout the year when we encourage DePaul students, faculty and staff to sign postcards that will be sent to their state and house representatives urging them to support the MAP grant.
I am astounded by the support of the DePaul community in advocating for the MAP grant, as seen both by the postcard initiative and by the number of individuals who join the SGA representatives on MAP lobby day. I hope to see even more members of the DePaul community working with the SGA during this year’s advocacy efforts.
3. Blue Demon Week 2016
Blue Demon Week is one of my favorite experiences at DePaul. What was once known as homecoming has turned into a universitywide partnership to promote campus affinity and Blue Demon pride. It is the one week when you can wear blue every single day and know that everyone else is also wearing their blue with you. It is such a lively time on campus as various student organizations work together to host and promote campus events. I have enjoyed seeing students dress up in their finest to attend the Blue Demon Dance and participate in events held on campus. It brings additional joy seeing a “sea of blue” as the student section supports both the men’s and women’s basketball teams during their Blue Demon Week games. Blue Demon Week comes at a time when winter weather is at its worst, but it is truly heartwarming to see the campus come together in support of DePaul, the Blue Demons and each other.
I could not complete this list without mentioning the moment every student has worked so hard to achieve: graduation. While a part of me doesn’t want June to get here just yet, another part of me can’t wait to get ahold of my diploma! Of course, I can’t talk about graduation without thanking several individuals. A huge thank you goes to my supportive parents, motivating younger sister, intelligent professors, and beloved friends and family for giving me the strength and encouragement to make it this far. While I still have a few months ahead of me until graduation, I do owe it to these individuals for making my time here at DePaul possible and exceptional.
1. The Great Unknown
The final item on my list may be a cliché, but I think it’s important to include: the great unknown. Though I plan to attend law school, and I am currently in the process of preparing for my first LSAT exam, it’s hard to say where it will all lead. There are so many possibilities ahead of me, and some of them I just don’t know about yet. It both excites and intimidates me to not know exactly where I’ll be a year from now. But I am confident enough in the education and skills I’ve received at DePaul that I’m not afraid of the undetermined path before me.