Student Government President Jose Diaz bids farewell to UM

After four years of service to the University of Miami, Student Government President Jose Diaz, better known as “Jose,” is finally ready for the next step: Law School at Columbia University.

While Pepi’s term as president lasted for one year, his service to the University spans his entire undergraduate career.

In his four years at UM, Jose has served as Commuter North Senator, Inter-fraternity Council Senator, Speaker of the Senate, and President; sponsoring over 50 bills while dedicating 40-60 hours a week on his duties.

His accomplishments as president also incorporate the inclusion of a student vote on the Board of Trustees; the Ibis Ride, in which students may use the Hurricane Shuttle to the Grove on weekends; an increase in the Hispanic offerings on campus; a Cyber Cafe at University Center; increased kosher foods in the dining halls; and a better on-campus recycling program; all this while maintaining a very high GPA.

“Being student government president,” Jose said, “has taught me how to balance my academics, friendships, co-curricular activities, and my sanity.”

Of all Pepi’s accomplishments, his favorite memory while being president is “seeing how proud my parents were when I was inaugurated. Both are UM alumni so they were especially proud of my accomplishment.”

Voting for this year’s presidential elections signalled the end of Pepi’s term.

When asked what his favorite part about being president was, Jose said, “Being able to work hand in hand with the administration to accomplish the things that I have been dreaming about accomplishing for four years. It is also nice when Norm Parsons (Director of the Wellness Center) calls me ‘Mr. President.’ It has a nice ring to it.”

In response to the low student turnout at the presidential and vice presidential debates, Jose noted: “Something that we have to deal with is the fact that student government is a microcosm of the real American government. Apathy is part of a democracy; you have a choice to participate in politics, and a choice not to. Many students are apathetic, but no matter where you go in life you will always run into those people. I just hope that we reached a few people in our university and made their experience a little bit better.”

Jose also feels that both the student body and their representative student government have come a long way.

“An accurate tool that can be used to measure our success this year is the fact that we have been nominated as the Student Government of the Year for Florida. We have made it to the finals; something that the University of Miami has not done in three years. We have increased involvement in elections, the Supreme Court, cabinet and senate. Category 5 has organized trips to the Sugar Bowl, Florida State, and even the Rose Bowl. All our branches are better now than when we assumed our roles in student government. I am proud of that. I am confident that we have truly made our mark as a student government this year.”

One thing is for certain: the position of Student Government President can be a tedious and stressful job, and without the help of his fellow peers, Jose says, nothing would have gotten accomplished.

“I want to thank my executive board, the administration on campus, and more importantly my peers for all their support in the past year. It has been a long year, but it has been well worth it. I would like to thank the University of Miami community for welcoming me with open arms.”

In the life cycle of politics here at UM, Jose has been through it all. Yet through his endeavors within the complex political process, Pepi’s final words as president are somewhat simple: “Enjoy your time at the University of Miami… it will be over quicker than you can ever imagine. Get involved and make a difference. You will get out of your college experience what you put into it.”