Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria have left Puerto Rico devastated. The U.S. territory has been impacted in a multitude of ways, including loss of power and limited supplies and the people of Puerto Rico are still working to get life back to normal. With this in mind, NSU Undergraduate Student Government Senator Zaidi Fearon is working to pass legislation that can help with relief efforts. With classes at the NSU Puerto Rico regional campus still canceled, USGA aims to find a way to help get these students back into the classroom.
“NSU values community and that is a part of our community. This is something that I feel should resonate with a lot of people and hopefully they will see it the way I do,” said Fearon.
USGA is looking to make a difference in some way, whether it be through working with the university to offer these students housing or through tuition reduction and payment plans. Fearon discussed the possibility of fundraising efforts that would provide funds to get the students to Fort Lauderdale to resume courses here.
While the legislation has not been presented in front of the senate yet, Fearon talked about the importance of student support for this project. Alex Lopez, USGA president, also explained how students can get involved in this process.
“I think the most crucial part of this is raising awareness. We can’t change something if we don’t know that there is a need for change. So, raising awareness and really helping people to understand the severity of what is going on there and the idea that we are capable enough to help them enough with the little bit that we can give.”
“The main thing is that if students see us with these surveys, which we will be pushing heavily, please fill them out. Not only fill them out but also share them with students who aren’t as involved but go to this campus,” Lopez said. “Survey (results) are in the numbers. If you’re telling me that a large number of the student body believes in an initiative, it kinda makes it a little harder for the university to say no.”
These senators are passionate about helping out fellow Sharks. The pair mentioned that even if the request for housing is denied, there are still many things that can be done to offer relief. So, what can students do to support this movement, other than showing their support through surveys?
“I think the most crucial part of this is raising awareness. We can’t change something if we don’t know that there is a need for change. So, raising awareness and really helping people to understand the severity of what is going on there and the idea that we are capable enough to help them enough with the little bit that we can give,” Fearon said. “I want people to understand that helping Puerto Rico isn’t out of reach. All it takes is time if you can’t give money, and using your voice because it really matters. I think when we show them support, it gives them relief to know that they are not alone in this.”
The legislation is supposed to be presented to the USGA meeting on Wednesday Oct. 18.