Cesar Hernandez needs to cut it out

By Michael Hardcastle, COLUMNIST
On April 19, 2011

Cesar Hernandez has done a lot during his term as student body president, from traveling the world, to surviving a brush with death, to now attempting to break a world record.

And frankly, he's making the rest of us look bad.

While many college students consider themselves fortunate just to secure a job in the food services industry, Hernandez founded his own non-profit humanitarian organization, the Seraph Foundation, with his fraternity brothers in 2009.

Over winter break, Hernandez traveled to Uganda to film the plight of orphans for a documentary. That same break he survived a car crash in New York. Hernandez said to The Oracle that a nurse attributed his long hair with saving him from major head trauma.

Not skipping a beat, in the spring semester he visited Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as a finalist in a competition held by Education Without Borders, a biennial international student conference at the end of March.

While most USF students were recovering from midterms, Hernandez was schmoozing with world leaders and the likes of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Dubai, a city known as an epicenter of power and opulence and home to skyscrapers shaped like sailboats, the world's third largest indoor ski slope and "The World," a manmade archipelago of islands shaped to look like a map of the Earth.

The average college student simply cannot compete with this level of accomplishment. A lot of students have causes they feel strongly about and they may donate to a favorite charity to fight poverty or famine in other countries. Some may go a step further and organize events on campus to raise money and awareness for every social issue imaginable, from disaster relief in Japan to a lack of shoes in the developing world.

But to actually go to Uganda or give a presentation on U.S. policy issues in Dubai just makes other socially minded students look bad in comparison.

Not slowing down at the end of the semester, Hernandez is set to begin a speech in front of Cooper Hall today at 10 a.m. and continue talking for 24 hours, shattering the record for the longest political speech held by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Most students are lucky to finish college with a bachelor's degree under their belts, let alone a world record.

Chavez set the current record during an episode of his weekly television show in 2007. Broadcasting live to his people, Chavez kept the nearly nine-hour marathon speech going by cracking jokes, singing songs and condemning the apparently popular practice among Venezuelan parents of buying breast implants for girls on their 15th birthdays, according to the Guardian.

Hopefully, Hernandez will have enough material to keep his speech going without resorting to song.

If he is successful in achieving his record, then it is time for him to call it quits. Not only is he putting the average college students to shame with his ridiculous achievements, but he is also putting a heavy burden on his successor, Matthew Diaz, of living up to student expectations.

Diaz will have to do more than just go to meetings and collect a not-too-shabby $22,000 or so, which is the yearly income for USF's student body president, according to WFTV.com - more than some elected Florida officials.

Diaz won the election with his "Total Bull Movement" campaign, which is hopefully not in reference to Total Frat Move, a popular fraternity website in the vein of FML.com and Texts From Last Night. If so, it does not bode well for USF and the presidential legacy left by Hernandez and his absurd feats.

Michael Hardcastle is a junior majoring in creative writing.

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