Alex Vergara is a first-year student, double majoring in English Teaching and Spanish. While Alex is early in her college career, she is working hard to educate herself on various approaches to making a positive social, environmental and economic impact in the world through her participation in the UNH Changemaker Fellowship. She has also participated in direct service volunteering around the New Hampshire Seacoast region through the PrOVES program and UNH Civic & Community Engagement. Alex is passionately empathetic, and uses her skills in listening and relationship-building as a foundation upon which she can engage her peers in conversations around social change. She looks forward to furthering her engagement on- and off-campus, particularly in the intersections of deliberative dialogue, diversity, and social justice.
I believe in radical empathy. I went to high school in Hartford, CT - the poorest city in the state, and mostly inhabited by people of color. I went to a magnet school that specialized in the arts, and majored in Theatre. Doing theatre in Hartford, I was exposed to the city’s incredibly rich artistic community and saw firsthand the resiliency these spaces possess.
Theatre teaches you how to be empathetic. One must learn why a character does what they do and what holds them back from achieving what they want. When that mindset is applied to people- you start to see them in a different light.
To build a strong community we have to be able to hear people’s stories, and understand what drives them and what gets in their way. Everyone has done that- told a story that was slightly uncomfortable to a friend in an effort to make them feel better. After that, we exchange notes. How do we heal? What is already working? If you’re coming from a place of privilege, how do you use that to lift up others, or when do you step back and make sure other voices are being heard?