It’s official. Jabin Moore and Vanessa Chavez Jurado will take on top leadership roles together on campus at University of Nebraska at Omaha. The two students in College Possible were elected 2020-21 student body president and vice president, respectively.
“I was incredibly excited and grateful for everything that has brought me to this point in my life. When I first stepped foot on campus, I never imagined that I would be in this position just three years later,” Jabin said about learning the election results April 8.
Jabin, an Omaha North High School Class of 2017 gradate, studying business and entrepreneurship, and Vanessa, a Millard South High School Class of 2018 graduate, studying elementary education, met through UNO Student Government. During the 2019-20 school year, Jabin was vice president and Vanesa a senator.
“Jabin and I are passionate about the work we would like to accomplish, and knowing we now have the opportunity to accomplish those goals is truly amazing. From the beginning, we were intentional with the vision we had and worked hard to spread the message of the change we would like to bring to campus,” Vanessa said.
The two are also both in College Possible. Each said the program and its coaches have helped them since junior year of high school to envision a successful future, broadened a world of possibilities and make a college degree an obtainable dream.
“I have learned so much about how to stretch and challenge myself to think outside of the box and dream bigger. College Possible has helped me to gain a different perspective of myself and see the possibilities that exists beyond what I experience every day,” said Jabin.
Vanessa said College Possible helped her embrace her role as a first-generation college student and empowered her to aim for big dreams.
“College Possible had an impact on helping me take ownership of the title of first-generation college student. I think sometimes being a first generation college student can bring about a feeling of self-doubt because everything is so new, but that should empower us to push forward, and that is something that College Possible has encouraged me to do.”
Some College Possible coaches were also first-generation college students.
“They were able to relate to struggles I would encounter, and that reassured me that I could achieve what I set my mind to.”
Jabin plans to graduate next spring. He is currently an intern at 75 North Revitalization Corporation in Omaha. Vanessa plans to graduate in 2022. She is a Goodrich Scholar, International Student Buddy Program Vice President and NU Advocates member. She also works part-time at Walmart.
Q: What are you campus priorities heading into the 2020-21 school year?
Jabin: Our main priorities are centered around addressing the pain points that students face in regards to parking issues, diversity, equity and inclusion, and student engagement. Of course, we will have to navigate the growing concerns and uncertainty around the current state of our world, but we are determined to see all of our initiatives through.
We will continue to work remotely and make sure to keep an open communication with the student body as well as University administration to ensure we are being proactive in this time.
Vanessa: The three areas of focus we campaigned on were parking, student engagement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. I look forward to working on these areas, especially projects focusing on how we can better engage with topics regarding diversity and inclusion at UNO.
We want to create a committee within Student Government that would facilitate collaboration and communication with the five Student Government agencies as well as with the diversity and inclusion committees within the colleges across campus. I had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with the College of Education’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee earlier this year and was able to have meaningful conversations with faculty on the areas we can improve on related to diversity and inclusion.
Q: How has College Possible helped you get to where you are now?
Jabin: I am really grateful for all the coaches that I have had in the time that I have been in College Possible.
From my junior year of high school until now, I have always had the most supportive and encouraging people who pushed me to keep moving forward and who were really the reason that I never gave up. I am incredibly thankful for the continued support from everyone in this organization.
Vanessa: Throughout high school, my College Possible coaches were very helpful in getting me prepared to go to college. Whether it was helping me study for the ACT, or sharing information on available scholarships, or being willing to review essays, I have no doubt the transition from high school to college would have been a lot different without their support.
Prior to obtaining the Goodrich Scholarship, I was anxious about not being able to afford college, as I did not want to create a financial concern for my parents. My coach was there to help provide support and helped me consider my options. Without that support, it would have become more difficult to consider my options relating to access to higher education and the possibility to get to where I am today.
Since having started college, my College Possible coaches have always been there for when I want to talk, whether it be about classes, on campus involvement, or just everyday life. Having those support systems readily available, and within an office I was familiar with, Multicultural Affairs, made it encouraging to go in whether it be to chat, sit down for a few seconds to take a breather, or ask a question that I knew I would leave having an answer to.