United Nations Association Student Alliance to host conference

For many students, one of the great things about attending a large university is the chance to learn more about different cultures, as they have the opportunity to embrace diversity and raise awareness about things happening all over the world.

USF has many student organizations that reflect a passion for diversity in the school’s community. One such organization is the United Nations Association Student Alliance (UNASA).

“Our mission is to provide knowledge and understanding to students of USF concerning goals and activities of the United Nations (U.N.),” UNASA Vice President Keysha Jaime Orona said.

According to Christian Lisko, the organization’s president, UNASA was created at USF about six years ago by a student named Elizabeth Dunn.

“Unfortunately, the club lost its direction after she graduated and didn’t fully reform until the spring of 2014 when new officer elections were held,” Lisko said.

Lisko, a fifth-year senior majoring in international business with a focus in marketing, was elected treasurer at that time. In the spring of 2015, he was elected president of the organization.

Since it’s revival in 2014, UNASA has seen a growth in membership and event attendance.

“We currently have 131 members registered on Bullsync and have a smaller group that is highly active at both general meetings and service/outreach/awareness events,” Lisko said. “[We] are open to USF students of all majors.”

Organizations such as UNASA help to foster skills and connections important for career-driven students. Jaime Orona, a junior majoring in anthropology and international relations, said she joined the organization last year because she wanted to improve her public speaking abilities and prepare herself for the challenges of a career in diplomacy. She believes joining the organization could be beneficial to all USF students.

“[UNASA] is a great way to get involved in a small diverse community who learns from each other,” Jaime Orona said. “We have monthly meetings and events, and [we] offer opportunities to volunteer and work with the local communities and other student organizations.”

UNASA works closely with the United Nations Association of Tampa Bay to help promote U.N. initiatives such as ending world poverty and achieving gender equality. Lisko said this alliance can open up internships or chances for students to study abroad.

“I encourage anyone interested in global affairs to get involved with our club to take advantage of these opportunities,” Lisko said.

UNASA will host the Florida Regional Model Arab League Conference, where students will get the chance to step into the shoes of an Arab country’s ambassador and represent the country’s interests.

“This conference is a great way for students from around Florida to debate current political and social issues in the Arab world, while also increasing their understanding of the Middle Eastern and North African regions of the world,” Lisko said.

The conference will be held at the Marshall Student Center Feb. 25 and 26.

“This is a great opportunity for many to volunteer, delegate, and make new friends,” Jaime Orona said. “At the end of the day, we encourage our members to have fun.”