Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2023 @ 7:45 PM
ORLANDO, FL (Mar. 16, 2023) –
UCF RWC Sport Clubs Graduate Assistant Lexi Morrissey and Intramural Sports Graduate Assistant Christian Ramirez were both elected as NIRSA Student Leaders. Morrissey was elected as the NIRSA Student Leader and is responsible for uniting and communicating with NIRSA members from the US and Canada. Ramirez was elected as the Region II Student Leader and is leading the charge of connecting and coordinating Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia NIRSA members.
For the both of them, being elected as a NIRSA Student Leaders sparks different thoughts and feelings. In Morrissey’s case, they want to be the bridge between NIRSA and college students. Acting as the liaison, Morrissey hopes they can help contribute to college students’ growth through sports. Morrissey said “I’m going to help people understand what campus recreation and NIRSA can do for them and hopefully lead students to the next stage in their life.”
NIRSA as a whole aims to cultivate members’ “learning and growth by fostering lifelong habits of wellbeing” (NIRSA). NIRSA wants its members to become more rounded individuals and gain skills that can help them throughout their entire lives. Ramirez shares similar thoughts. His driving force as the Region II Student Leader is the concept of “sports for change.” Following NIRSA’s values of cultivating a more rounded individual, he aims to help students reach their greatest potential and make life long memories. Besides sharing goals of bettering students as individuals, they also share a passion for NIRSA’s “Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion” value (Morrissey’s and Ramirez’s NIRSA Student Candidate Biography).
As a non-binary student, Morrissey said they will often say what pronouns they use first to make others feel more comfortable sharing their own. As the NIRSA Student Leader, they want to be able to represent and advocate for all the students they serve. Furthermore, they said they want NIRSA, as a national body, to help “encourage our institutions to stand up for the students that they serve.” While Morrissey’s position is limited by being unable to make final decisions, she aims to “be the voice in the room saying we should be thinking about this.”
Ramirez approaches the value of “Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion” from a different perspective. Being Mexican-American he wants to help emphasize the cultural diversity of NIRSA members through acknowledgement and celebration. “I want to implement small changes, like recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month; that’s something I want to include as a student leader as well as focusing on that and acknowledging Hispanic professional staff or student staff that are involved with NIRSA,” Ramirez said.
The road to becoming a NIRSA Student Leader was filled with many questions and long periods of waiting, but their friends and co-workers knew they’d make excellent student leaders. Peter Wallace, a senior Sport Clubs Student Staff, described Morrissey as a trusting and kind leader. “They’re always very kind and helpful to everyone on staff, to all the other sport clubs and their officers.” Junior, Intramural Sports Lead, Dianna Choque described Ramirez as a compassionate leader of action. “What makes Christian a good leader is his compassion and empathy toward the people that he meets,” Choque said. “He makes it known to the staff that he has our backs and will always be there for us when we need him. Christian as a leader is someone who leads with his actions. He is very passionate about his values and it shows in everything he does.”
Having two student leaders being elected from the same university leaves room for many opportunities for both NIRSA and UCF. On the NIRSA side of things, Morrissey said she is excited to work with Ramirez as a student leader since he is “a really great person to work with” and they already work closely at the RWC “both us being within our roles in NIRSA and working really closely at UCF, it’s an interesting opportunity to really get something done.” Ramirez believes their positions as student leaders will also benefit UCF. “I think we have an opportunity to share and acknowledge the great work UCF is doing as a whole. Getting to learn from other institutions will also allow us to bring new things here and to grow our program into an even better one” Ramirez said.
While they have different perspectives and goals, Morrissey and Ramirez said they share a common goal: Give other students the same great opportunities and joyous experiences they’ve had.
Sport Clubs are student-run, student-led organizations supported by the Sport Club Council. UCF Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs are a part of the University of Central Florida’s Recreation and Wellness Center, and funded by the UCF Student Government.