For my “Women Who Inspire Me,” series, I captured the lives of four different women who know how to make a change and pave their paths. These women included Democrats, Republicans, activists, and aspiring politicians. In this series, I used both written and spoken words to capture their essences and complexities.
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a young woman named Virginia Hugo Vidal. Hugo-Vidal grew up in Buxton, Maine, before spending her last two years of high school at Gorham High (she went to high school with me!). She is currently studying both political science and international affairs at the University of Maine. This is only Virginia’s second year, yet she has accomplished so many milestones.
For one, Hugo-Vidal is involved in several extra-curricular and politically focused activities at the University of Maine. She is currently a member of the University of Maine College Democrats, the Maine College Democrats, the University of Maine’s Model U.N. team, the University of Maine’s International Affairs Association, and the University of Maine’s Tri Delta sorority. A dedicated and vigorously passionate young woman, Hugo-Vidal has proven herself in not only her studies but also her sorority and each of the clubs in which she’s involved.
Hugo-Vidal finds herself surrounded by positive people who support her political career, especially within her sorority, Tri Delta. Virginia’s sisters within the Tri Delta sorority have been a source of support, love, sisterhood, and motivation for her. They’ve encouraged Hugo-Vidal throughout her academic and political journey and cheered her on when she got new opportunities. They even study with her and help her budget her time!
“I really like my sorority, because it makes me really well-rounded in terms of community service, academics, sisterhood. The values of my sorority are truth, self-sacrifice, and friendship. I take [those values] and apply them to my political and international affairs life realm. They also help me with the balance I was talking about! I go to my sorority meetings and sorority events and I can shut off the part of me that’s always hustling and always working really hard,” Hugo-Vidal notes.
“We all support each other in everything. They send me opportunities. They get excited for me when I get opportunities and do cool things. They come to me and ask me questions [about politics]. We all support each other with everything we have. They’re the best group of supporters I could ever ask for.”
One of Virginia’s biggest passions is politics. Ever since she was young, she dreamed of getting more involved in the field. She takes her political work and activism very, very seriously. She tries to be as involved and active in politics as she can, constantly seeking out work and internship opportunities within her field of study. Virginia even hopes to become an elected official one day!
Hugo-Vidal says that she was inspired to go into the field for two different reasons. One is because of her family, and the other is because she saw an opportunity to help others.
“There’s always been something inside me that wants to help people and I’m not good at math and science, so I can’t go into medicine, and I come from a very politically active family,” Virginia notes.
“My parents were very involved in politics. We would read the newspaper out loud…We would watch the State of the Union every year and my dad would have me explain it to him. And all of that just sort of led to me wanting to get involved in politics. All of that led me to want to go into politics and use my voice to help people who can’t use theirs.”
Virginia’s drive and enthusiasm for politics have led her to many opportunities to establish herself in local, statewide, and on-campus politics. She currently holds a leadership role as the press secretary for the Maine College Democrats. This opportunity not only gives Virginia an official position within the Maine Democratic Party, but also allows her to make connections and communicate with others.
Additionally, Hugo-Vidal’s position allows her to communicate important information to young voters. Virginia frequently uses her position and privilege as a Press Secretary to update young and progressive voters about important political events, elections, and more. She also utilizes social media to communicate about politics. In fact, she has access to the Maine College Democrats’ Twitter page, where she frequently posts.
Hugo-Vidal’s passion for politics and international affairs expands far past her position with the Maine College Democrats. Hugo-Vidal even traveled across the globe to study global politics! Recently, Virginia went to Kosovo on a summer-abroad program. She studied topics including war, history, and of course, the country’s politics while she was there.
Virginia found her experience in Kosovo very eye-opening. Her time there allowed her to experience a lot of new things, as well as learn about the country’s history, culture, and customs. She explains that she very much enjoyed Kosovo because she found it to be a very warm, welcoming, and kind country.
“ [Kosovo is] very kind! It’s this amazing sense of community there. Maybe, it’s because it’s warmer there than it is here in Maine. There’s very little crime, which is incredible. They’re just very kind people who have taken all the persecution and the bad stuff that has happened to them, and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to move forward as one nation and we’re going to treat everybody with the kindness that we weren’t treated with for so long,’” Hugo-Vidal says.
Virginia looks back on her time in Kosovo with pride and happiness. She plans to go back in the summer to develop her thesis.
Virginia Hugo-Vidal is a motivated, politically active, and intelligent young woman. From her leadership in the Maine College Democrats to her time abroad in Kosovo, she has accomplished a great deal and worked hard to achieve her goals. Virginia has helped to spread information and educate others about politics, while simultaneously working towards creating a more warm and forgiving political atmosphere. Virginia Hugo-Vidal has always worked towards the greater good. I know she will always continue to.