By: Bianca Mendoza, San Francisco State University
My name is Bianca Mendoza and I am the Community Out Reach Lead of Up to Us at San Francisco State University. This year, I was lucky enough to attend the 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. As I arrived at NI18, I didn’t know what to expect. After a pretty tough start to the semester, I was feeling uninspired and not very motivated to do well because during my time at San Francisco State University, I never really had an understanding of what I wanted to contribute to my community. I’ve always known that I wanted to be involved in my community and to provide equitable nutritional services to my peers who lack the resources, but I never really put the pieces together in my head.
As a representative of San Francisco State for the Up to Us campaign I’ve come to realize that since we’ve been able to achieve such great success in just two months of campaigning to raise awareness about fiscal sustainability, I can make a huge difference in my own community. Despite not having large amounts of resources, our team has been able to connect with so many people. I’ve been able to witness this first hand as our in-person engagement has visibly grown larger and larger each week.
Our team loves Up to Us and we are eager to continue our advocacy work. Since our campaign will end at the end of the semester, we have been looking for ways that we can continue advocating for issues related to sustainability. Attending NI18 has allowed me to realize my reach is larger than I thought. Meeting so many Up to Us leaders who were inspired by our campaign and my dedication to our project has shown me that I was born to be a leader and I can make a difference, whether it be locally, nationally, or internationally.
As I reflect on what I learned at NI18, I realized what I want to do. I want to lead. I’m motivated to take what I learned from these Up to Us leadership trainings and begin a Net Impact Chapter for Undergraduate students at our university. This is the reason that I joined the campaign; to be the next generation of changemakers that this country needs.
Up to Us is a great program because they encourage students to succeed and they even provide resources to be able to succeed. I want to inspire young people like our team leader, Nathan Bowman has inspired me. Out of all the team members, Nathan was able to recognize that I would get a lot out of the Net Impact Conference given the fact that I am interested in sustainability, and he made it a priority to bring me to the conference.
I can’t wait to continue working on the Up to Us competition and to begin a life of leadership and advocacy so that I can create a more equitable world.