LASO president is known for her respect, responsibility, and mindfulness

Jennifer Vargas. Photo credit: Christina Franusich
Jennifer Vargas. Photo credit: Christina Franusich

Jenny Vargas’ story shows how followers and organizations can benefit from a leader who embraces collaboration and values civil dialogue. Jenny is president of the Latino Association of Student Organizations (LASO), an umbrella organization for the Latinx community on campus.

Her nominator wrote, “During her presidency, LASO has become a more open organization that has grown in its mission to unite the Latinx organizations and community, and the main tool she has used to do this is civility. Jenny has been extremely respectful to every peer leader she has dealt with. Her respect, responsibility, and mindfulness have allowed her to create professional relations that have been valuable for the organization and for the Latinx community.”

Jenny’s vision for the organization began to take shape before her presidency.

She wrote, “I thought I could turn LASO to a new direction and be more collaborative. I believed uniting the organizations through events would help the sense of unity in the community, which is important to me.”

Jenny is a first-generation Mexican-American and first-generation college student. She joined LASO to help her grow as a person, learn more about her heritage, and help others grow.

She wrote, “Being proud of my roots is an awesome feeling because my culture has rich value to it, but I felt that it was not sufficient to be proud of my roots. Showcasing my roots was the next step. I felt that LASO would help me grow as a member of the Latinx community and that I would be able to exercise my advocacy for subjects that need to be addressed.”

Jenny said her work made her realize that “every culture is unique and deserves a spotlight.”

She admits that being president is not without its challenges. Still, she said the role is the highlight of her college career so far. She is also quick to praise her team and is grateful for their work.

The feeling is mutual.

Her nominator wrote, “She has led the group by serving as a great delegator. She found the best fit for everyone on the executive board and inspired us to develop our roles by leading by example. She effectively communicates the issues we must face as an executive board. During her role as a peer leader, her patience was pushed to the limits many times, but she always managed to find an effective manner to communicate differences respectfully.”

Jenny’s advice for leaders and students? Take a deep breath, relax, and figure out a plan. “No matter what happens, you will get through it,” she said.

A psychology major, Jenny plans to attend graduate school and eventually become a psychologist.

Her reaction to receiving an Aspire! Award was one of surprise. “I did not think I was deserving of this award,” she said. “But I am honored that others saw that in me.”