In high school, Coraliz Diaz was involved in many leadership roles through Future Business Leaders of America.
Her sophomore year of high school, she ran for the position of state vice president representing the capitol region and lost to a male counterpart. She felt that because the position had previously only been filled by boys, her opponent had an advantage despite his credentials.
Diaz’s next encounter with leadership would not be until her first year at Seattle Pacific, running for Hall Council.
A resident advisor approached her, sure that after winning her campaign and serving her term, Diaz would want to be an RA. Diaz, on the other hand, was against the prospect.
However, after serving as Arnett Hall Council President during her sophomore year, she became an RA in Hill Hall. Now, as a senior, she serves as a Student Leadership Development Committee (SLDC) programmer.
Diaz is extremely passionate about women of color serving in leadership positions, contributing toward her drive to serve.
She attributes her passion to her Puerto Rican ethnicity, which is deeply ingrained in her.
“I know that a lot of my resolve and stubbornness comes from having to put up with people who were doubting me [due to racial and/or gender bias],” she explained.
Because of this, Diaz is interested in intersectionalism, especially at SPU. She wonders why it is that in a school that is 39 percent people of color, there aren’t more people of color in leadership positions.
She states that if more people from different backgrounds were to be in such positions, it would more likely welcome people with similar backgrounds.
Diaz stressed the need for more representation on campus, to help change who events and programs target. If students of color are not willing to serve in leadership themselves, they should connect with someone who is already a part of it.
“More brown girls need to serve in leadership roles. It’s imperative. More women in general need to serve,” she said. “We have a university that’s a majority female, so why doesn’t our student leadership reflect that on all avenues?”
During her first year of college, Arnett Hall Council President Felicia Perez encouraged Diaz to run. However, this role was extremely exhausting for her, and she was constantly reminded by her Hall Council advisor to perform self-love and self-care.
Her awareness of self-love translated to her RA position when she and her student ministry coordinator, Janessa Reeves, won Program of the Year for their “Self-Love Month” in February.
After being in the spotlight for two years, Diaz did not think that she would pursue another role in student leadership. However, because SLDC only serves other student leaders, working behind the scenes felt like a better fit, she explained.
SLDC focuses on “In Service,” seminars that focus on teaching student leaders about different concepts that range from information sessions on emotional quotient to having conversations about diversity. Diaz recently planned an In Service that focused on accessibility and universal design.
Although planning the seminar was hectic for Diaz, she stated that it made it more rewarding when it came together. While she recognizes that she is at school for her education, she has learned that she is growing more as a person outside of the classroom.
Throughout all of Diaz’s experiences, she has realized that she will only feel motivated to work on projects that she is passionate about. Extracurriculars may fall secondary to schoolwork for some students, but for her, they are life-giving.
For Diaz, her leadership is not about the attention. It is about planting a seed in others, such as leadership groups, and knowing that, with cultivation, something fruitful will grow.
“I want to see somebody different care about developing student leaders and I want to continue that,” she said.