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Jerry Solomon: President of Filipino Americans Coming Together (FACT)

What is your full name?
Jerusalem Solomon

Year:
Senior, class of 2013

Major:
Mass Communications, Public Relations. Minors in General Business and Asian Studies

Ethnicity:
Ethiopian

Favorite VCU memory:
Probably when VCU was in the Final Four and everyone raged on Broad Street. It was crazy, but I had never seen everyone so unified.

During your college experience, what organizations have you been involved with?
Filipino Americans Coming Together, Student Government Association, Vietnamese Student Association, and Virginia 21

What positions do you or have you held in FACT?
I started off as a general member, then moved on to Membership Alumni chair my sophomore year. I spent my first year on the Executive board as a junior with the position of Treasurer, and now I am President.

As the President, what are you looking forward to most during the 2012-2013?
Hopefully keeping up our motivated spirits. Groups sometimes have a tendency to get really excited in the beginning of the school year, but the excitement decreases as the year goes on. I want FACT to be consistently happy; and hopefully that is reflected by our membership retainment for the year.

Since you are not Filipino-American, what initially compelled you to join a Filipino cultural organization?
A few friends I came to VCU with happened to be Asian and they wanted to check out FACT after they talked to them at SOVO fair my freshman year. I decided to go along, not really expecting to join, but there was a certain warmth about the organization. At first I was afraid of being outcasted because I wasn’t Filipino, but eventually I barely even noticed. It was a family. Soon enough, I had people to look up to — people who were really taking me under their wing and making sure I was taken care of. I found a group of individuals that I can honestly say I will love forever. I had never seen an organization be so organized! There were cultural, social, and community service events, but none of them were ever overshadowed. We ALWAYS had something to do and people to meet. It kept me really active and even though many of them were Filipino, it introduced me to a very diverse group of people.

What is your message to the student-body about your organization?
Don’t close your mind to things! It’s funny how people are turned off at the idea of joining because they hear the word Filipino and feel that they can’t get much out of it because they are of a different ethnicity. Council members will drag me over to them and tell them how I’m Ethiopian, and that they don’t have to be Filipino to join. Usually, people then notice that  there must be something more to the organization; and  this message goes for ANY organization! My advice is don’t shy away from something you are not familiar with because you could miss out on something very precious.

What are some of your favorite memories in FACT?
Probably my sophomore year when FACT won D7 Olympics. It was an annual event where all of the Filipino organizations from the schools in our district competed for an amazing trophy. It was more than that though. Back then, I was surrounded by those who are now alumni who made my experiences unforgettable. We got to travel, network, and see our friends from schools like UVA, Tech, and ODU who were there to play for their own school. We have had numerous road trips, camping retreats, and potlucks too — all of which I miss.  

What are your plans after graduation?
Hopefully I get a job in Richmond and can afford to stay here. It really has become my home. And it might be hard for me to tear away from FACT. I want to be an active alumni member and see them grow.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?
Probably back in Northern Virginia, loving my job, two kids, and married. But I guess only time will tell!

Who are your inspirations and why?
Probably my dad. People say that I’m a lot like him and in some ways I see it. But he is incredibly smart and involved. He didn’t finish college, but I can talk to him about anything and feel educated every single time. 

What motivates you to be a leader?
I honestly don’t know; however I think it has to do with passion. The only times I’m good at something is when I love it. I had a very busy schedule last year, and told myself that I would not run for President of FACT because it was such a commitment. Everytime someone asked me, I would decline in hopes that if i said it enough, I would believe it. But the moment I was nominated, I paused, then blurted out “I accept.” it was the weirdest thing! I didn’t even know what I was saying. As cheesy as it sounds, this was one of those moments where my heart spoke the words that my brain didn’t want me to say. I love FACT and can’t imagine my life without it. I can honestly credit my whole, amazing college career to it.

Is there anything you want to share with us about yourself?
I’m a pretty easy going person. I like to pick up hobbies from time to time; and I’m usually the only one laughing at my own jokes. I also like meeting people! 
 

Chelsea is a Her Campus alumnae and the Cofounder and former President and Editor-In-Chief of Virginia Commonwealth University's Her Campus chapter. Chelsea has diverse professional experience thanks to her many internships in college. Her experience includes working in the research department at Viacom's MTV, assisting the CEO of a boutique jewelry brand in NYC, and working at an English tourist magazine in Japan. Beyond her professional life, Chelsea is inspired by fashion, finance, all things Harry Potter, her dream of working for a company she loves, and her travels. Chelsea turns to Sailor Moon episodes and Harry Potter soundtracks when life gets tough. Also a good amount of shopping, traveling, and making memories with loved ones will maintain her status quo.Connect!LinkedIn Instagram: @chelsskubo
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