The 35U began with a vision to inspire the leaders of tomorrow by telling them about the leaders of today. With millions of people involved in government, education, business and community service across the country, it sometimes may be hard for the 35U to connect to leaders individually simply due to an age barrier. The 35U to us is any young adult from the ages of 18-35 in this country. These individuals have a voice – they can vote, serve, and most importantly, they can make a difference for future generations.
Today’s Q&A feature is Christopher Ferreira, a Junior studying Political Science at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. In addition to his studies, Christopher epitomizes the involved student leader. He is a member of FAU’s Student Government, having served as the Speaker of his campus House of Representatives before being elected Campus Governor. In addition to serving as an elected official on campus, Christopher also serves as the Co-President of FAU’s Peace Studies Student Association, and is an intern for Florida State Senator Maria Sachs. We caught up with Christopher and here’s what he had to say:
What is it about politics thus far that you most enjoy?
What I’ve come to enjoy about politics is how fast the landscape changes. There are so many interrelated factors in politics that all work towards constantly reshaping the political conversation and it this dynamic that I find fascinating. One specific example of this shift is the change in attitudes over the last decade towards marriage equality. The nation’s view on the issue has performed a complete 180 from where it was a decade ago on the issue. It is this type of progressive change that I enjoy about observing and studying politics. It is amazing how the political landscape can transform in so little time.
How would you define a successful leader?
I believe that a successful leader is able to realize the big picture of things and put the right people together to accomplish a goal. They may not have all the answers but they know how to find the people who do and mine from them the information that they need to be successful. A successful leader is someone who is also able to use his or her passion and vision to inspire others. Through their hard work and dedication others are able to see how important the mission is and then join along with it. It is also important for a successful leader to be able to admit when they are wrong to their team. Some think that this is vulnerability, however I believe that this shows humility and can make a leader more admirable.
If you had to pick one political issue to work on, what would it be?
If I had to pick one political issue to work on it would most likely be campaign finance reform. I am passionate about campaigns and elections and believe that with the right mindset and organization my generation can take the necessary steps to reforming the campaigns are financed. For too long now the wallet of the big corporation has outbid the little guy in the political process.
Where do you ultimately see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I see myself having completed law school and working my way up in the political field. I have an interest in journalism and have always excelled in writing so I can definitely see myself writing about politics for a organization like Politico or the Huffington Post. In addition to that, I see myself possibly working in political public relations as the “media guy” for an elected official on the state or national level. I want to specialize in electoral law so I also see myself working as some sort of consultant to candidates and issue campaign on how to navigate the laws that govern elections.
What advice do you give to other students who want to get involved?
Just do it! The best way to realize if you’ve got a passion for this is if you simply jump in and get your feet wet. Maybe you will wind up hating it, but I can guarantee that getting directly involved and doing as much as possible will lead you to find what it is you are most passionate about. Never hesitate to try something you have absolutely no experience because those who are the masters of it now started right where you are!
Photo Credit: Max Jackson Photography