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Tigers of the Valley: Selena Valdizon

DAVID PEREZ // Photo Editor
Selena Valdizon

Selena Valdizon, class of 2018, has heard many stories.
Having transferred to Clemson’s nursing program two years ago, Valdizon has made the most of her time, meeting and connecting with people everywhere she goes. She rarely finds a moment to sit still. Valdizon drives to Greenville and Anderson for her clinical practice as part of her final year in nursing, while also taking a full load of classes and working a part time job at a nearby retirement home.
Despite all of the work she has on her plate, Valdizon somehow finds the time to stay involved on campus and currently serves as president of Latinos Unidos @ Clemson University (LUCU), an organization built to bring awareness to issues faced by the Hispanic and Latinx community.
“I get my energy from people,” Valdizon said.
Being so active has allowed Valdizon to meet a great variety of people. Determined for herself to succeed, Valdizon loves to motivate and encourage others.
“Some people just need a push. They don’t realize how much potential they have, and you just have to tell them ‘you are smart,’” Valdizon said.
“They don’t realize that people fail. That’s normal. You are going to fail, if you don’t fail you are not human. I think that’s what they are scared of: to fail. And they don’t realize that people fail all the time.”
Valdizon highlighted one particular situation when a friend’s mother came and thanked her for the effect her words and actions had on her son in regards to his potential to attend college.
“It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how saying those few words and spending a little bit of time pushing them, just how that can impact them,” Valdizon said.
Mentoring is only part of what Valdizon does, with equal attention paid to advocating for others through her role as president of LUCU. Having met so many people struggling with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) issue, she chose this as one of the group’s main issues.
DACA, an immigration status for undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. as children created in 2012 by President Obama, is a status that is being hotly debated in the U.S. Congress. Alongside four other Hispanic/Latinx organizations, Valdizon worked to set up an event called Letters to Congress which promoted citizens to reach out to their congressmen in response to the revocation of this status.
“DACA affects anyone who migrated here at an early age,” Valdizon said, warning that these immigration issues affect more than just Latino students.
“I just promised myself I wanted to do something about it. [Be]cause I didn’t think it was fair, for a population who has been here their whole life, this is all you’ve known, [and] something you consider your home doesn’t accept you. So I thought that was wrong,” Valdizon said.
In the fall of 2017, Valdizon sponsored a resolution in the Clemson Undergraduate Student Senate that expressed support for the DREAM Act, a bill which would grant a more permanent status to DACA recipients. The resolution was passed unanimously and was later also passed by the Graduate Student Government (GSG).
“I think it is important for someone like myself and others too who were born in the U.S. to advocate for the population that has no voice,” Valdizon said.
Even though she will be graduating soon, Valdizon wants to continue to work with immigrants and focus on changing immigration policy on a larger scale, as well as start exploring the world as a traveling nurse.
“I just want to see other places,” Valdizon said.
“The hotter areas,” Valdizon said when asked about which places she would like to see first.
A Clemson student whose life revolves around stories, Selena has lead a life with plenty to tell.

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