I sat down with Sofia Slimak, a junior here at Florida State University (FSU).
Her Campus (HC): So, tell me a little bit about your involvements at FSU.
Sofia Slimak (SS): Throughout my tenure, I’ve been able to find myself through my involvements, find a community and really find out what I want to do in life. When I came to college, I had no idea. It is one of those things where you think you have a path, and then you change your major five times before finding where you are now. I’m now in international affairs and I want to go into international consulting. I’m a problem solver and I really want to go into a field where I can help as many communities as possible, ensuring that their lives, their work environment and the things that impact them are the best they can be.
HC: Wow! That is really encouraging to hear right now. I just changed my major this week and I am glad you have really found fulfillment with yours. (If you are thinking about switching majors, I recommend giving this article a read as well). So, how did you get to where you are today with your campus involvements?
SS: Alpha Gamma Delta was actually my first involvement. I never thought I was going to join a sorority and then a friend told me about the Continuous Open Bidding (COB) process in the spring. The Panhellenic Director, Freddy Juarez, stood up on stage and talked about women’s empowerment and I was like, wow, this is something I can get into! Then I got a DM about Taco Tuesday night and I came over and ended up eating the best food I had had at Florida State for months—love Suwannee to death but the chef at Alpha Gam is a different level. Within two weeks, my life spun around and I was living in the sorority house. My freshman year, I was really sick with months of bed rest after a bad case of mono in which my tonsils had fused, so I was barely able to get to classes, much less get involved. As I was coming out of this is when I joined the chapter. Alpha Gamma Delta really gave me the home and support system I needed to stay here at Florida State.
HC: We are so glad you stayed! How did Alpha Gam help you get involved at FSU?
SS: I have always wanted to be involved and one of my biggest things is giving back to the community. So, I got involved in the chapter, but I wanted to do more. There was a sister who was always doing so much. She was always running around the house doing great things and I had heard great things about her. One night, we were sitting watching Game of Thrones in the house and I was like, oh my gosh, this is my chance, so I asked her to get coffee. This was Jessica Barloga, who was Panhellenic President during her time here and was also one of the founders and campaign managers of the Amplify Movement. So we sat on the green and drank Starbucks, and she told me about her campus involvements. She really helped guide me to the many Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) on campus. She would always DM me things on Instagram of ways to get involved and that is why I am so passionate about sharing things on my stories because that is how I first got involved.
HC: Sofia, what is your senate story?
SS: Luckily, I was able to sublease an apartment over the summer with three sisters. One of them was Marisa Latham, who was Jessica’s little. Marisa was sitting in senate at the time. Summer senate is an opportunity to get involved by sitting in vacant seats of senators not taking summer classes. She helped me get ready to public speak again for the first time in over a year due to mono and built up my confidence to apply to be in summer senate. So, in the blink of an eye, I was in senate on the budget committee, helping write this resolution that would give organizations $250 for the first two weeks of school for food and snacks for their first General Body Meeting (GBMs). I then realized, oh my god, this can make an impact! Coming back in the fall, I decided to continue and reapply for senate. I was appointed to a seat and I served for a year until now, as I currently serves as the Secretary of Student Life in the cabinet. I have gotten involved in the Alumni Association as Director of Events and in Garnet and Gold Key in Programming. For this year, I have been campaign manager and strategist for Movement. It was not so much that I realized I was doing so many things, but that I realized FSU had so much to offer.
HC: Tell me about your current projects.
SS: Working as Secretary has been really rewarding. One of the main things I have worked with is Transportation Services in implementing seven new bus stops on FSU’s safe connection bus for the college of engineering, fine arts and a few other further campus locations. This is so students can get back safely at night and increases accessibility. Also, getting the first parking ticket removed, ensuring extra parking spaces and working to make sure our crosswalks are safe.
HC: That is great! What about your off-campus projects?
SS: I ended up working and creating an Angel Drink—which is currently being implemented at The Strip. The Angel Drink is something you can order at the bar and it lets the bartender know you are in trouble and you need help. There is a full system set up where they pull you into the manager’s office, get you a ride home and make sure you are safe. We are doing this to improve the safety of our students because our lives aren’t just on these brick walkways, they are also in the extended community.
HC: That must feel so good to truly see the impact you are making. Student’s safety and health are so important.
SS: Yes! I am also currently working on an exciting project called the Tom Project. We are currently getting AEDs—defibrillators for cardiac arrest—into all the residence halls. We are also working to get free CPR training for students on campus and having a cardiac day where everyone can come and get free EKGs to check on their heart health. This is all in honor of Tom. Tom was a brother from Pi Kappa Alpha who passed away from cardiac arrest recently and this is dedicated to him.
HC: I can’t wait to see all these great things you are working on come to fruition. What is your proudest moment at FSU?
SS: I truly believe in mentorship and seeing the success and legacy you can give. I was campaign manager for Nastassia Janvier and seeing her passion, drive and what she wanted to do on campus was amazing. Tazzy is also the third black woman president of Florida State Student Government Association (SGA) and it has been a long time since we’ve had the top two be female.
HC: Speaking of mentorship programs, is there any advice you would want to give those wanting to get involved?
SS: The involvements at FSU can be overwhelming. We have over 800 RSOs, so it is hard to keep up, but one of my biggest suggestions is to ask someone. Everyone that is involved wants you to be involved because there are never enough voices in the room. Also, follow the organizations on Instagram or reach out to an officer on Nole Central.