McKenzie Ortiz '18

Name: McKenzie Ortiz

Age: 19

Year: Sophomore

Major: Environmental Studies

Hometown: Wichita

Fierce, motivated and a force to be reckoned with, McKenzie Ortiz perfectly represents what it means to be featured as one of Her Campus KU’s celebrities. As a sophomore, McKenzie has wasted no time making her mark at The University of Kansas. McKenzie participates in the Future Majority, Halo, Student Legislative Awareness Board, Dole Student Advisory Board and Student Senate, where she serves as a Fresh/Soph Class Senator, serves on the Multicultural Affairs Committee, Status of Minorities Sub-Committee, Student Environmental Advisory Sub-Committee and as if all of this isn’t enough, she’s also a KU Honors student and works as a desk assistant in GSP/Corbin residency halls. Talk about a busy life!

Clearly, you’re a busy person. Tell me about some of the organizations you’re involved in?

“Halo is the Hispanic American Leadership Organization on campus. What I love most about Halo is that it’s really cool to just see people like you on campus, you know? It’s so fun, and we talk about a lot of really important issues that affect spanish/minority students on campus. Future Majority is unique because it’s a non-profit that advocates for policies for students. It’s like a non-partisan, student-based political activist group. The Dole is kind of my main thing, though. They have a mentorship program, which is really cool, and a lot of activities you can go to. They also have a lot of guest speakers, which is really interesting.”



I see that you’re very politically oriented. What exactly draws you to this subject area?

“I just think it’s really important to be civically engaged because those are the things that are actually going to affect us, affect our kids, you know? Being someone that isn’t as represented as other people at KU, I feel like if I want my voice to be heard, I need to speak it. This is my way of using my voice. I need to go out and show it. Not only for myself, but for people like me as well. “


As a minority student, do you feel underrepresented at KU?

“Yes, I feel underrepresented at KU. There are things I’d like to see change about the way minority students are represented here, but there are people working and gathering ideas about the best way to go about making those changes.”



Would you say getting involved has shaped your overall college experience?

“Yes, I definitely think that. The first thing I did on campus was just the normal midterm elections, getting people to come out to vote and all that. I had friends from the dorms and whatnot before that of course, but then once I started talking to people and trying to get them to get out and vote, I feel like I made so many friends. I felt more connected. Then the people I met through that connected me to the Future Majority and it just kind of took off. It really branched me out.”


Would you give any advice to someone who is thinking about getting involved?

“Advice to someone who’s scared? Just do it. Just show up! Like, you don’t have to overdo it or anything, just show up and make some friends. Just show up, go places, do stuff. Don’t put too much on your plate if you’re still getting your footing, just show up!”



Well, if McKenzie isn't example enough of how important it is to be involved, I don't know what is! While trying something new can be scary, if it's something you're passionate about, or even just curious about, don't be afraid to try. Like McKenzie said, just do it! Go to a meeting, test the waters and before you know it, you'll have friends that become family and experiences you can't replace. Rock chalk, McKenzie! Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your life as a Jayhawk!