January 16, 2012
Lucas Hernandez ’13 seldom misses an opportunity for involvement—or reflection. Whether acknowledging the quiet inequalities others endure while appreciating the freedoms he’s afforded or serving in the community while breaking down his own pre-existent notions, Hernandez brings a unique blend of give and take. The international relations major spent last semester studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, where he blogged about his experiences as an R-Journalist. He’s a member of the fraternity X Club, volunteers in the Office of Community Engagement (OCE), and helped launch the Rollins Immersion program. With the help of OCE, he also recently helped start a homelessness advocacy group on campus.
What do you perceive to be the most pressing issue that your generation should address?
The lack of reliable channels for attaining political information. With the development of television media and the influx of social media, it has become more difficult to maintain a balanced and holistic understanding of both national and local legislative processes. Without such understanding, the channels of democracy become limited as citizens grow more disenfranchised from the political process.
How are you helping to make justice a reality?
I promote justice by dedicating my time and energies toward causes that I believe help to improve the lives of others. I not only volunteer but look to live out a life of active citizenship. I actively work toward larger and more comprehensive means for change that can be shared with those around me and future generations.
During his “I Have a Dream Speech,” King laid out his dream. What is your dream?
My dream is not as profound as King’s, but for me just as necessary for our generation. My dream is for today’s world to view globalization as a means for something beyond economic achievement. As it stands today, globalization is primarily viewed through a single lens, in which globalization is viewed through the dominance of multinational corporations and international trade agreements. However, I see great opportunity for both cultural and social exchange that could simultaneously maintain current cultures but also work to develop greater cross-cultural understanding. This, to me, follows in the similar vein as Martin Luther King's dream for the simple fact that it looks toward unification on a fundamental level between seemingly distinct individuals.
How does this dream drive what you’re studying?
I am studying the intersection of cultural studies, political science and economics, which allows me to understand the global society on three distinct yet essential levels. This dream, however, influences more than anything my involvement outside of the classroom.
Everything I do on some level works toward my vision. My understanding on an academic and non-academic level develops not only my passion but my effectiveness and ability to create an impact.
How are you promoting change?
I have a strong passion for creating a closer connection between youth and legislative process. Information is truly power. As an important demographic for creating sustainable change, we as college students have a responsibility to remain informed in government actions. I am currently working to achieve this through augmenting the education of homelessness issues in the Central Florida community through the organization Next Step, but I am also developing an initiative that strengthens this democratic channel on a more general level.
How are you helping to improve the living condition for others?
Although I do not have the ability to make significant changes to the lives of others, my work through advocacy and service helps to instill the importance of working toward something greater than myself that benefits others. This in turn creates an environment for sustainable change.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in becoming involved but aren’t sure where to start?
The greatest piece of advice that I could provide is to approach service as a progression. Passions aren't created in an instant. When service is performed consistently and with an open mind, in an area of interest, the benefits will be endless.
Honoring the life and legacy of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, MLK Celebration runs January 16-21. Join us in paying homage to King’s work toward equality and economic justice for all people.
By Laura J. Cole
Office of Marketing & Communications
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