Graciela Covarrubias, the new vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and a fourth year student double-majoring in public relations and advertising and organizational communication, took a few minutes to share her thoughts about SGA, leadership and her time at DePaul. Read on to learn about this dynamic student and her commitment to DePaul and its mission.
What year are you, and what is your major/s and minor/s?
I'm a rising fourth year, going into my masters program. My undergrad here at DePaul was in public relations and advertising and organizational communication. My masters is a communication and media degree with a dual concentration in organizational and multicultural communication.
You’re in SGA. Why was it important to you to be involved in SGA?
SGA was something I fell into here at DePaul. It started with my friends encouraging me to pursue the role of Senator of Mission and Values because I enjoyed talking about the mission and was looking for ways to share that passion with my peers. Once I was involved with SGA I realized how important the positions we hold are: SGA representatives sit on dozens of boards and committees on behalf of students, and we are responsible for advocating for our peers through the seats we hold at these tables. It's a privilege, an honor and an incredible responsibility to listen to ongoing campus dialogues and share those conversations and perspectives with the administration.
What part of your SGA experience so far has surprised you? Has challenged you?
Every part of SGA has surprised me--nothing prepares you to take on these roles. I've been moved by how much students will protect and advocate for one another: the undocumented student scholarship is a beautiful example of this.
I think the biggest challenge while in these roles is that we can't do it all. As student leaders we do our best to embody servant leadership and listen to as many student concerns as possible, but time limits us-- most of us are only in our roles for a year, which means we must do everything in our power to maximize our time serving our peers.
Why run for SGA vice president?
Running for vice president has given me the privilege of doing more for my peers. There's a quote by Rosalie Rendu, a member of our Vincentian family, that motivated me to pursue the role: "If you have nothing to give, give yourself." As a student, I don't have a limitless amount of resources to help my community, but I can always give myself. For me, running for vice president was an opportunity to give myself to the DePaul community and serve them through this role.
Does being on SGA complement your in-class studies? If so, how?
It does! I'd like to go into consulting to help organizations empower their members and run more efficiently. The work I do in SGA is similar in the sense that I always have to have my ear to the ground. I'm here to listen, identify problems and help provide solutions to the issues that students face in their time at DePaul.
What have you learned about leadership through your work with others on campus?
The most important thing about leadership that I've learned through my work with students on campus is how important critically listening and gathering different perspectives is to the problem-solving process. If you want to help students you have to understand that student issues are always multifaceted. The key to finding solutions to these problems is listening intently and understanding that it's your job to amplify these voices.
What has been your favorite class and why?
It's nearly impossible to pick just one. But if I had to choose I would say, communication consulting with Wayne Gru. Gru is the epitome of a great college professor, he's deeply invested in his students, passionate about helping us hone in our skills and he's devoted to answering any and all questions we may have. He's had a strong influence on my career choices and he's someone I admire for his compassion and knowledge.
What is your most memorable experience at DePaul?
DePaul has given me countless memories, but among my favorite was my time on the Vincentian Heritage Tour. Traveling to Paris to literally walk in the steps of St. Vincent de Paul was a once in a lifetime opportunity that taught me an incredible amount of things about the Vincentian mission.
What is your favorite DePaul tradition?
My favorite DePaul tradition is opting for an alternative spring break and participating in a service immersion trip to learn about systemic issues associated with poverty, homelessness, and education.
What are your future plans?
After I complete my masters I'd like to relocate to Denver and pursue a job in the consulting world for a few years. Then I'd like to apply to a PhD program for leadership or organizational communication. Ultimately, I'd like to teach at the collegiate level and have my own consulting firm that specializes in team building for young adults.
Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.
- I'm completing the Catholic pilgrimage, El Camino de Santiago, this summer.
- I was born blind.
- I have the complete three-volume biography of St. Vincent de Paul.