by Jasym Mireles, CVP Student Advisory Board Co-Chair
Jasym Mireles is a student leader involved in several organizations at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is currently majoring in finance at the McCombs School of Business. Jasym serves as the Co-Chair of the Student Advisory Board for Campus Vote Project and as a Director for National Model United Nations. He is passionate about empowering students to become change-makers in their communities, and hopes to inspire those around him to fight for what they believe in. In the future, Jasym plans to continue his involvement in youth-related issues while becoming engaged in international relations and international business.
In January 2018, the new cohort of students from around the United States was selected to sit on Campus Vote Project’s (CVP) Student Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB represents CVP on their campuses and in their community. They receive opportunities to build leadership skills, gain management experience, and learn the role and primary function of a board.
Among the newly elected SAB members were Lynette Quintero, Jasym Mireles, and Nicole Taylor, all of whom were selected to form part of SAB’s Executive Council through their respective roles as Chair, Co-Chair, and Secretary. Prior to their roles on the Executive Council, they had served as interns and Democracy Fellows for CVP starting in 2016.
In early February the idea to hold an Advisory Board Summit was born, and over the next several months, the Executive Council, along with CVP’s national staff, began to plan the summit. The Board held its first annual Leaders In Democracy summit in Washington D.C. from July 29th to July 31st. The summit united passionate, ambitious, and determined young adults from around the country who learned from each other, shared their experiences, and gathered the skills needed to continue to be leaders in our democracy.
Students kicked off their visit to DC with a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, attended the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and went to a group dinner. Each member shared their story and provided insight into why they care about civic engagement. These stories were not only personal, but deeply powerful, as many members spoke about systemic injustices students face when voting, the lack of education surrounding voting rights, and the need to encourage others to vote. This served to highlight that the summit was crucial to all SAB members.
The following day was full of activities including presentations from each of the SAB members. These included presentations such as “The Power of One” by Samaya Roary, “Voting in Texas” by Maya Patel, and “Automatic Voter Registration in Nevada” by Karl Catarata. When the presentations had ended, the SAB members attended a celebration dinner and social at Taqueria Local, where members were able to interact with young professionals involved in the civic engagement and political participation sectors.
Tuesday was the final day of the Leaders in Democracy summit. SAB members met with Chiefs of Staff at the Rayburn Building. Following this, the SAB members participated in a brief tour of the Capitol, and later gathered lunch back at the CVP headquarters.
Overall, the Leaders In Democracy summit was hugely successful. SAB members got the chance to meet with professionals, share the work they do, allowed CVP staff members, guest speakers, and SAB members to create bonds with one another that transcend the professional realm. The summit was unique in its ability to surpass ideological differences between attendees and allow each member to establish lasting friendships and professional connections that will empower them to continue fighting for what they believe.