People and Community University

Student Government leaders ready to give peers full support

Jamie Williams-Smith, Chika Nwosu, and Tatiana Alvarado have been hard at work building their administration, tackling initiatives, and connecting their counterparts with resources that support diversity, inclusivity, and success.
From left: Jamie Williams-Smith, president; Chika Nwosu, vice president; and Tatiana Alvarado, treasurer. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami
The Student Government officers, from left, Jamie Williams-Smith, president; Chika Nwosu, vice president; and Tatiana Alvarado, treasurer. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

Their paths at the University of Miami all began separately. 

Jamie Williams-Smith, from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, joined the Student Government as a sophomore on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Chika Nwosu arrived from Atlanta and quickly joined the First-Year Leadership Council, growing into various roles throughout her time in the Student Government. And Tatiana Alvarado, from Miami, devoted her time to guiding her peers and new ’Canes as a student leader in the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement. 

Now in their roles as president, vice president, and treasurer, respectively, of the Student Government, the trio has converged their paths with one common goal—to look out for their peers. 

“Between the three of us, we come from very different backgrounds. I think a lot of diverse student voices are represented among us and our executive board. For us, it’s a matter of representing them and letting them know that we care for all,” said Nwosu, a senior studying biology and psychology. 

Despite their united approach to tackling initiatives, the executive officers even started their journey into office on separate paths. While Williams-Smith and Nwosu ran on the same platform, Alvarado was elected to her position in a run-off election in the spring. 

“I’m truly privileged to have been elected alongside these two wonderful ladies,” said Alvarado, a senior majoring in legal studies. “We found common ground on our goal to support students. We’ve put that first when picking our projects, and we also come up with new initiatives together along the way,” she added. 

“We knew how committed we were to making a change. We had a lot of common goals, so it made it easy for us to come together,” said Williams-Smith, a senior studying business technology and strategic communication. “We sat down and said to ourselves ‘What is best for the University and the students?’ And that’s what we’re doing.” 

Following their inauguration last spring, the trio sat down and discussed how they could come together to continue pursuing initiatives that will enhance student and campus life, academics, and health and wellness. And as the fall semester gets underway, they will meet weekly to continue making progress on campus-wide initiatives.

Williams-Smith, along with her executive team and Lauren Lennon, director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), spent the past few weeks preparing for the first ever DEI Festival, coming up Sept. 22. 

“It will be a great way for first-year and current students to learn more about the different cultural organizations on campus, and their offices that support every social identifier on campus,” Williams-Smith said. The event will feature information tables, performances from student groups, and food.  

As vice president, Nwosu oversees the First-Year Leadership Council (FLC), a board within the Student Government that introduces student leadership opportunities and provides mentorship resources to a select group of first-year students. As a former member of FLC herself, Nwosu feels her role as vice president is the culmination of all her experiences as she hones her passion for fostering leadership skills. 

“My goal is to expand the FLC experience and connect our first-year students with more resources than just Student Government,” Nwosu said. “I’d like to connect them with more resources and social organizations.” 

Part of this initiative, she added, involves revitalizing and expanding the LAUNCH Summit for first-year leaders across campus. 

Other initiatives in progress include creating a public syllabus bank—which will provide more details about some of the University’s most popular courses to students before they build their schedules—and generating a scholarship to help commuter students pay for parking passes. 

The student executive officers are grateful to find themselves in roles at the forefront of being able to make a difference and to improve the student experience. 

“Freshman year, I didn’t picture myself in this role,” Williams-Smith said. “It’s humbling to be in a position to meet with administration on a weekly basis to make effective change on campus.” 

Alvarado has similar feelings. “I came to the University as a spring admit in the middle of the pandemic. I could have never imagined myself in a role to make change. I’m just here to support Jamie and Chika and the rest of our board to do what needs to get done.”  

To get involved with the Student Government, visit their Engage site for deadlines to apply or file for candidacy. Visit the Student Government website for more information and to contact representatives.