Monday, April 3, marked the start of the elections for UPRM’s Student Council. For each faculty, there is a variety of candidates to vote for, from faculty representatives (aka concejales) to senators. From the Science faculty there are three different students running for the position of senator, and one of them is Darex Vera Rodríguez. Darex is a fourth year Industrial Biotechnology major, also pursuing minor studies in Project Management, whose commitment and passion make him an outstanding candidate for the position of Senator for Science within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Currently, Darex is the president of UPRM’s chapter (Zeta Alpha) of the National Biological Honor Society, Trißeta. He expressed that one of the reasons he’s running for senator is because, ever since he started working as president for the association, he’s gotten a broader vision of what’s happening in the Science faculty, especially in Biology, and learning about the different departments—Nursing, Chemistry, and Physics. “According to some situations that have happened within the Biology department, I also ask myself if they happen to the other departments. Little by little I’ve realized there are certain things that can be improved; and my experience, in the department, could be implemented to the others as well.” Darex knows having a position within the General Student Council isn’t an easy task, it needs people who’re daring and ready to take on the role. “Everything I could give this year for my association I’m willing to give again, and even more. ¡A darlo todo por el Colegio!”
While in his third year at the university, Darex realized that he has the ability to do things some people may not dare to do. “To be in one of these positions, I think it’s very important to be daring. There are times when you have to defend things that only you stand up for, it’s only going to be your point of view, your way of thinking; however, you don’t know the power you could have when establishing your perspective and expressing your ideas in your own way.” Aside from being president of Trißeta’s Zeta Alpha chapter in the academic year 2016-2017, he has proven his leadership skills by being a spokesperson for a church group he was part of during his childhood and being a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers’ (SHPE) directive. In addition, he has done three investigations on campus and two internships in universities in the United States.
One of his goals, if elected as senator, is for UPRM to host a graduate school fair. Acknowledging there’s a high percentage of students that, once they obtain their bachelor’s, pursue graduate studies, Darex considers that a graduate school fair—bigger than the ones previously hosted at Colegio—is a great way for our university and our students to gain international recognition by bringing different institutions and for them to recognize the type of students Colegio has to offer. “One of my interests is to develop all the intellectual capacities in our undergraduate students and every opportunity we can offer them as an institution.” Giving the example of the nearly destroyed Chemistry laboratories, he stated a good idea would be to audit the laboratory quota students have to pay each semester, which is around $100, to know what exactly happens with the money paid to maintains these labs. Darex also explained how the bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, at Colegio, focuses only in the industrial side of the branch; however, he’s realized that it could be possible to implement new systems in which the programs could be divided, giving students an ample variety to choose from.
In his words, commitment and passion are the two words that best define Darex. Commitment because he knows he will dedicate whatever it takes to the General Student Council and passion because it is something he likes. With these two qualities, which he believes to be the most important, he was able to achieve his goal of being president of Trißeta’s Zeta Alpha chapter. However, from those qualities he also developed tolerance and patience. To him, these four qualities are essential; it’s all about keeping calm in front of any situation one may encounter and knowing how to handle any problem, whether personal, internal, or external. He expressed how one should learn how to control one’s emotions, given certain circumstances, because they can affect negatively. “Eventually, you’ll thank yourself [for not letting them get in your way]. It makes you a better person.”
Darex’ commitment with Colegio and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) as a whole is a true remarkable one. He mentioned how he greatly believes in projects, which have a beginning and an end. Any project or idea that develops during the course of his position as Senator for Science, if elected, should have beginning and end. However, the end doesn’t mean he’s going to stop working, but rather start a new project which could also be a continuity or improvement of an achieved one. His commitment with the students and with Colegio is to defend students’ rights, faculties, our future, and the future of those who will one day follow into our footsteps. “There’s a saying, ‘El que no conoce su historia está condenado a repetirla,’ and I think that given these moments, if we write history and leave our mark in the UPR it will create an impact, especially on future generations.” This is his promise, to defend, innovate, and create an impact within our Colegio and the whole UPR system.
Elections are open until this Friday, April 7.