Micaela Torres: FSU Runner Shares How She Gets Active With Community Service

Name: Micaela Torres

Year: Sophomore

Major: Pre-Nursing

Catch her if you can! From being a member of the FSU Cross Country team, participating with Habitat for Humanity, and serving as the Event Day Coordinator for The Big Event Tallahassee, we can’t keep up!

Her Campus (HC): What inspired you to get so involved on campus?

Micaela Torres (MT): Coming into Florida State University I wanted to get involved with a large organization on campus. I did a lot of student government in high school and I wanted to move away from it and get involved with service orientated organizations.

HC: How did you chose to join the organizations you’re currently a part of?

MT: I found The Big Event Tallahassee at Market Wednesday last year and thought its goal and message was incredible, like nothing I had ever heard before! I thought that being a part of The Big Event would be a great way to get involved with service and leadership on campus. I found Habitat for Humanity at the FSU Involvement Fair. I’ve always had an interest in Habitat. We have meetings on Mondays at 6:30. With running, running is something that I did all throughout high school. I tried out for the FSU Cross Country Team my freshman year of college and joined as a walk-on.

 

Courtesy: Micaela Torres

 

HC: Can you tell us more about what The Big Event is and what you do as Event Day Coordinator?

MT: The Big Event is the largest one-day student-run service organization on campus. We invite thousands of students from Florida State University, Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College to come out and participate in community service to thank the surrounding city of Tallahassee for all it does for us. On Event Day, volunteers complete service projects at various sites like Leon County schools, parks, nursing homes and more. The Event Day coordinator organizes and executes the kick-off, on the actual day of the event. I also plan the itinerary and work with other committees of The Big Event throughout the year to get sponsors, plan performances, and get speakers for Event Day, like President Thrasher himself.  We make sure everything runs smoothly the day of the event.

HC: What is your favorite part of the organization?

MT: Kick-off, to see all the students from these different universities coming together to complete community service, is incredible. When Event Day starts off, the Civic Center is an empty and dull room. We, The Big Event Executive team, decorate it and then it fills up with people and energy and excitement that just keeps growing and feeding off of itself. We have students, speakers and different performances to get us on our feet and moving.

HC: Can anyone get involved?

MT: Yes! Anyone can get involved. We have programming and volunteer opportunities all throughout the year, so people can dip their toes into volunteering and get ready for the big day. We have our first ever Little Event coming up November 3rd which I am very excited about. It’s a smaller service initiative and only 500 volunteers will be able to participate! Registration opens October 1.

 

Courtesy: The Big Event Tallahassee

 

HC: What about Habitat for Humanity? What made you want to participate?

MT: I’ve always had an interest in Habitat for Humanity; I even wrote a paper about Jimmy Carter in high school. I originally wanted to do something involving humanitarian efforts for my career, like working with Habitat or the Red Cross.

HC: Can you tell us what being a member of Habitat is like?

MT: Habitat for Humanity is what you put into it. Building creates such a powerful experience. It gives you the opportunity to do something that you might have never done before and helps someone achieve what they can’t on their own. When you’re out there building a house, the family that is going to receive it is there with you, so you get to meet them and learn more about them. It’s not a detached process. It’s amazing to watch the project become a reality.

HC: Not only are you active around campus and within the community, but you are a member of the FSU Cross Country and Track Teams. How did you become interested in running?

MT: People are always like “oh no, how can you run?” But honestly, after a hard day, it is a great way to clear your mind. It’s a way to let off steam and get you in a better mood. I actually started running in middle school or a running club where we met once a week and ran a mile. It became something that I got good at and enjoyed doing. I contacted the head coach, coach Kelly Phillips, my freshman year at FSU and she told me that I had to have a certain track time to join the team. At the beginning of the year we ran a 5k on the track, and based on your times you are either on the team or you’re not.

HC: What has the experience of being a part of the team been like?

MT: Running is more than just competing. I was able to join the team as a walk-on, and coming in as a walk-on wasn’t discouraging. It actually sparks some fire into you. Being a part of a team, especially a team like ours, introduces you to a group of people who all have the same mindset and have the same goals and values. They want to get better at what they’re doing. It has been a wonderful experience.

HC: Do you have advice for anyone who wants to get involved on campus?

MT: The biggest thing is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to say something to someone you see wearing a T-Shirt of an organization that you’re interested in. Say “hey, I’m interested in joining that, how do you get involved?” Honestly, I don’t think I am done. I have two more years here at Florida State and there are still so many things that I want to try and want to do even with my busy schedule right now. I’m planning to apply for the nursing program in the spring. There are so many people on campus that I want to meet. There are so many different opportunities to explore.