“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” His vision has come to action with the help of The Unite Party at Florida State University. The goal of this party was created to be more than just a political organization on campus. The differences in the mindset this party wishes to strive for is to create a shared space to discuss views and diversity through their way of making every single vote count.
On Feb. 15, 2019, I had the pleasure of interviewing some of candidates including Steven Spears, Chair of The Unite Party; Richell De Jesus, candidate for Student Body Vice President; Dominique Hoffman, candidate for Student Body Treasurer and Carltion Disalvo, candidate for Student Body President to get a closer look at all the hard work they pour into this organization and how this organization differentiates from other parties. At every meeting, they start by opening up with what Unite is so people can better comprehend why they are there. The party makes themselves available for the student body to ask any questions and to provide them with the clearest and most honest answer. Winning is important, but for the Unite Party it is about so much more. It’s about trying to make genuine connections, which is not a typical form of political organizations, making them very approachable. Dominque couldn’t have said it better when she said, “I aim at the quality of leadership, not quantity.”
Disalvo said, “The most important thing is involvement, to engage with students on a personal level in order to build a connection.” They reach out to audiences who are not a part of SGA, Pride, HLSU and even groups that don’t have an identity, to facilitate what they want to do and how they can do it. “Learning from everyone’s different perspectives has helped me grow as a person,” Dominque confidently said. Out of 40,000 students, an average of 7,000 students voted and they want to change this, and this is how they plan to make a difference. What is unique about the Unite Party is that they put the time and experience in, so they know their area. They understand what it is to be a student as well as a student leader, so the work they put in is genuine. Steven said, “Everyone in Unite is a friend first. We won’t jeopardize to get ahead, we work together.”
One of the main aims is to improve transparency, the financial aspect, which can be done through the use of simplifying the information to create a clear and effective use of communication. To expand on that idea, they have launched an SGA video series to directly communicate with the student body directly. This brief interactive video was created to show the resources the government has for the public in order to help them understand better. The Unite Party reaches out to other organizations through the use of ANS fees, which is the ability to facilitate money. By doing so, they have had a huge influence on organizations Florida State University provides to the students like The Globe, The Leach, The Rez, The SLC, Club Down Under and Speakers of the Golden Tribe. Steven said, “The most important thing with The Unite Party is that we create a community within a community, we all are Seminoles, and we bring value to the meaning of that.” This organization has all kinds of people in the same room supporting the same thing from Greek Life, athletics and the College of Music, which brings together cultures and background to support the same cause. “The best way to move forward is to do it together,” Steven explained.
“Everyone has different political views, but if we can’t create a common nationality, we can’t effectively accomplish our roles in the student body,” Disalvo said. Throughout my interview with this Party, a realization came out through all of the truth. It is easy to lose track of what people are doing when they are elected, so more opportunity spreads through the ability to learn the information within our campus. De Jesus said “First-year students are getting involved as well, we have a combination of both parties and being so we won’t be here forever so the new upcoming freshmen and sophomores are the voices to be heard, and they should take on the roles to continue working for the same cause.” With this is in mind, we cannot do everything, but someone can do something.
Images courtesy of Steven Spears, Richell De Jesus, Dominique Hoffman and Carltion Disalvo.