My name is Darlington but I go by Destined. I am a third-year international student from a small country on the west coast of Africa called Liberia. Interesting fact about my country: When US President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it did not only set “all persons within the rebellious states” free, but also, it returned some of the freed black slaves back to Africa. The specific area in Africa which was bought to fulfill this goal is what is now known as Liberia, which means a Land of Liberty.
I am a political science major with a concentration in international relations and comparative politics. I aspire to become a human rights lawyer in the future, and this dream stemmed from my awful childhood experience. I lost my mom at the tender age of six during a period of civil war in my home country. My dad had fled the war into exile, leaving my future in the uncertainty of hopelessness and despair. I survived the war and reared myself in the streets, where I did not have access to primary education for at least ten years. This experience has inspired me to pursue a career in issues of social justice, and I am on a mission to ensure that no student should be out of school based on their family’s economic background.
The task to serve as student body president is a hard and important one. However, I have acquired the relevant leadership skills and experience to face this challenge. I have served as an At-Large Senator of the student government for two consecutive terms; as an Off-campus Senator, and as president of the Maverick Involvement Team where I represent the interests of the over 260+ recognized student organizations we have on campus. I have also experienced global leadership forums and simulations which have deepened my capacity for global citizenship. This includes the 27th Session of the United Nations General Youth Assembly, the American Model United Nations International Collegiate Conference, and Student United 2022 Advocacy Conference. I also maintain a strong intersectionality which cuts across the story of various groups; including international students, black students, non-traditional students, first generation students and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Thus, electing me is electing one of your own because I have a better understanding of the issues that affect our diverse student body.
They say, “a better plan leads to a better future”, but I say having a first-hand experience of real-life situations provides student leaders the actual roadmap they need to seek the wellbeing of their fellow students. Otherwise, we are taking a bet on our future to think that someone who does not share our stories will represent us well. Based on experience, some of what I have set out to achieve under my leadership includes using civic engagement as a tool to ensure an inclusive student government in which every student’s voice is heard; advocating for inclusive student basic need resources to address the problems of food insecurity, housing insecurity, transportation and mental health on our campus; advocating for student support systems to make college and more affordable for all student, and advocating for increased student wage and stipend.