University of Iowa Student Government (UISG) Vice President Lilian Sanchez was originally drawn to UISG after realizing the potential for positive change to improve lives for students on campus.
“I love living in Iowa City and attending the university because of its wide range of programming, both on and off campus,” she said. “A sense of community is very important to me and I find that here. My love for the University of Iowa community led me to want to give back in any way.”
Lilian along with her running mate, UISG President Jacob Simpson, ran in the spring on the Bridge UI platform.
According to their website, the Bridge UI platform seeks to “appreciate, acknowledge, and honor the unique identities and experiences of all UI students as well as the administrators, faculty, and staff that surround them.” Their mission is to “provide a sturdy, long-lasting connection between members of the University of Iowa community and advocate for those members by bridging the gap between students, administrators, other institutions, and the state.”
Sanchez sources her Bridging Domestic and Global Diversity experience during her first year at Iowa as an influence on the prominent theme of inclusivity in the Bridge UI platform.
“From my own personal life experiences as an immigrant to Iowa, it was very difficult for me as a child to orient myself to a completely new environment,” she said. “For this reason, I empathize with our international student population and realize how important it is as domestic students to welcome and engage with peers from different backgrounds and experiences. Bridging Domestic and Global Diversity provided me with the technical skills to better my cross-cultural interactions by embracing difference in a safe and welcoming space.”
A French minor, Lilian also had the opportunity to study abroad in Paris the summer after her first year at the UI. Her particular program focused on political science, one of her majors, and helped her further understand international politics.
“Never in my life had I envisioned myself traveling outside of the country, so for me this was a dream come true,” she said. “Not only did I get to practice my French language skills with native Parisians, but I was also immersed in the culture and was introduced to another way of life. An international perspective, in my opinion, is invaluable and has the ability to help us grow and think deeper about life.”
After graduation, Lilian hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in human rights, specifically immigration work at a domestic or international level. As for right now, Lilian is committed to using her platform to strengthening connections and building bridges on campus.
“I think the benefits of having an internationalized campus are invaluable,” she said. “It’s not every day in Iowa that you can walk around the community and hear a myriad of languages. International students bring an amazing perspective onto campus and enrich our community in every way imaginable.”