Gatepost Interview: Dara Barros - Incoming SGA president
By Sophia Harris
Asst. News Editor
What made you want to get involved in student government?
Last year during one of the orientation training days, we had the vice president of DICE at the time, Connie [Constanza Cabello], come by. She was talking to us about diversity and inclusion work. And that's something that I've been interested in for a long time, even in high school. I was very vocal about my opinions. And then I reached out to her and she said that there's a position in SGA for a diversity and inclusion officer. I talked to Kenzie [Ward] and said I wanted to fill this position. It is a fairly new position - I'm the second person to hold the position. I wanted to work with Eric [Nguyen] and Connie at the time before she decided to take a different position. I wanted to work with affinity groups - work with SGA. I've also always been involved in student government in high school. I was the president of my student council my senior year, and I also held e-Board positions my other years.
What is your favorite part about being on SGA?
My favorite part about being on SGA is being able to be vocal, both during SGA meetings and out of SGA meetings. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that you don't usually see. So, for example, the Patriot Front stickers that were on campus - it was a lot of behind-the-scenes work. In this role, I was able to talk to Eric, get advice from Eric, and do the open forum with President [F. Javier] Cevallos. So those are my favorite things, being able to have those connections, those direct connections to be able to be vocal, and also be there for all of the students at FSU.
Why do you want to be SGA president?
I want to be SGA president because, as I said, I was president of my student council in high school. … Being in the student council, I got the experience of, again, being vocal and being as supportive as I possibly can - by putting on events, different traditions that we did have in our schools, and just making sure that everything goes smoothly, and I would like to continue to do that at FSU. I like to think of myself as a very progressive person. … As SGA president, I want to be able to talk to the admins to make sure that we are heard, both during open forums and not during open forums. … Especially with a new president coming in, she has a lot of great ideas. And I've met with her. I plan on working together with everyone involved in SGA. That goes with e-Board and senators. I also want more students on campus to be involved in SGA. We don't have that many senators at this moment. I want a mixture of new students, students that are already here, and I plan on doing that by using my orientation leader platform to speak to students about SGA and how important it is to have a voice on campus even if it's a small voice. That voice could always progress and you can leave behind something really special.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment during your time in SGA?
That's a hard question because I feel like there have been a lot of greatest achievements that I've had, especially with this role being new. One accomplishment was when the Patriot Front stickers were here. I was really proud of myself that I was able to bring everyone together and was able to have a processing space in the CIE [Center for Inclusive Excellence] for students to go and discuss not only what has happened on campus now but also discuss what's going on around in the world with the Black Lives Matter movement. … It was a great turnout because we talked about what had happened on campus just now and also what has happened on campus before and how we didn't really see change and just being able to bring students together - was my greatest achievement. Another greatest achievement was the Black Lives Matter banner. … I did work with the Student Affairs Committee. … We all work together to make sure that it comes out as smoothly as you possibly can and is now in the CIE.
What goals do you have for next year in SGA?
One of my biggest goals is to get more students involved in SGA. Especially for students in the BIPOC community, I think it's very important to make sure that we have that representation as well and get representation in general in SGA because we are supposed to have way more senators than we have now. And just imagine how SGA would be if we had a full house. That's one of my biggest goals. My second biggest goal is probably going to also be working with diversity and inclusion. As president, I do get to appoint the diversity inclusion officer which I'm excited about because I'm working with Eric to look at potential people. That's my third biggest goal - to make sure that someone continues that diversity inclusion and then excels from what I started and continues it. Another one is to work with Dr. [Lorretta] Holloway on the retention of students of color, especially, because I know my freshman year we had one of the biggest populations of students of color and now it's like we all vanished. I don't want that to happen to other classes. … We have open forums and we barely have students show up to open forums. It's most likely SGA members or The Gatepost. … I want more students to just attend SGA meetings to hear what's going on with funding, with different events, what's going on on campus with DICE, with the president, with any finances, anything on campus. … Also with the open forums, I want to start what SGA had previously, which is having boxes around academic buildings as well as student center buildings so students could drop in ideas to be shared at the open forums and SGA wouldn't know who it is. But we would go and collect it and read it at the SGA meetings when we have them and those boxes will be located all over campus.