Manuel (Manny) Trejo, a junior at the College of the Holy Cross, has been strongly committed to social justice and service since his high school years, during which he served as a retreat leader in his school's faith and justice office, an executive board member in the school's LatinX student organization, and a team leader with Phoenix's "Adopt-A-Street" program. He was also involved in two international experiences (a month-long trip to Peru and the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Mexico) that deepened his commitment to recognizing the dignity and worth of all people. In his first year at Holy Cross, he enrolled in a community-based learning course though which he provided after school homework assistance to recent refugees from Africa, he was chosen to be a floor representative within his residence hall, and he became involved in the Latin American Student Organization. Since then, he has held leadership roles in the Student Government Association (Office of Diversity Intern), Office of Residence Life (Resident Assistant), and the Latin American Student Organization (Community Liaison). A consistent theme throughout his on-campus leadership has been his desire to engage the student body on topics of diversity, build a more inclusive community, and inspire other students to become engaged with issues both on and off-campus.
My initial introduction to civic engagement was during my high school career. Through the school's LatinX student organization, I participated in the city of Phoenix "Adopt-A-Street" program. Additionally, I was involved in school programs and worked as a mentor and retreat leader and realized the positive impact and influence of mentorship. Early in my collegiate career, I was involved in a student organization where I had the opportunity to serve as a Community Liaison and it was in this position that I gave a workshop for students of color on the necessity of community engagement both on and off of their respective campuses. I helped lead a group of students to a rally in support of the DACA program in Boston. On campus, I am currently involved in student committees and student government to face issues on diversity and humanitarian work, such as disaster relief in Puerto Rico and other affected regions as well as a weeklong educational awareness event highlighting issues related to DACA, immigration and refugees. Through these activities I hope to inspire students to utilize their voice and privilege to become active global citizens.