Giving Back to the Community: Meet Student Carlos Santander
Originally from Chile, student Carlos Santander is majoring in International Business. Carlos is the President of the Business Society and Vice President of JCU Student Government.
What brought you to JCU?
I lived in France for 2 years when I was a kid. Then I moved back to Chile, and I spent 9 years in a French school. I transferred to an American school in my country, where I learned English. After that, I moved to JCU. I love history, so Rome was ideal. My siblings are in Europe, I already lived in France, so Italy made sense. The culture here is similar to Latin culture, so when I came here, I felt welcome.
Why did you choose to study International Business at JCU?
A small school appealed to me. JCU is a community in the sense that everybody knows each other, you can easily make friends, and business was always my interest. I have wanted to study something business related since I was a kid. It seemed like the natural option. With a degree in International Business, I can choose specific areas to concentrate on.
You’re the CEO of Organic World, a company based in Chile that promotes accessibility to organic food. What was the inspiration for it?
I started the company when I was 18, while still in high school. I always felt respect for nature, and I have encouraged people to explore the environment. As human beings, we are part of nature, and we should collaborate with it to continue the progress of humanity. I had a particular passion for food because healthy living is one of my interests. I felt disturbed by the number of pesticides in our food. When I was a kid, the cafeteria in my school had tasteless tomatoes. When I had tomatoes that my relatives brought from our farm in the south of Chile, they were completely different because they were cultivated organically. My idea for the company back in Chile was to promote greater consumption of organic products in the population.
You’re also the President of the Business Society. Tell us about your role and the activities are you working on.
As President, my role is to oversee various Business Society projects. This semester, we have three main activities, a stock market simulation game, a collaboration with Model UN for a finance forum, and a marketing case study. We also organize a game night at the beginning of each semester to encourage socialization within the student community. We also organize trips, for example, last semester we went to the Lamborghini factory in Bologna. We conducted a case study on Lamborghini, which we are trying to publish through the Frank J. Guarini School of Business.
You’re a founding member and co-chair of Climate Countdown Committee and Secretary of Grassroots. What do both committees do, and what are their goals?
Climate Countdown Committee (CCC) came as a result of Grassroots and Student Government joining forces in 2020. The goal of CCC is to decrease the carbon emissions of the University. We are working to install solar panels at JCU, decrease food waste in the cafeteria, and implement more plant-based options for students. We are currently creating additional proposals to present to the administration.
I was elected secretary of Grassroots in June 2020. Grassroots is taking the lead in informing students about climate change. We have various events planned, like the initiative we organized a few weeks ago to educate students on plastic waste. Grassroots and CCC work close together. Many members of Grassroots are also part of CCC because they share the same passions and interests.
As Vice President, tell us about your vision for JCU Student Government.
My position is about helping current and future students and being of service to the entire community. We have different events that we’re planning, like “Professors and Prosecco” earlier this semester, which was an opportunity for students and professors to meet informally. Also, we host multiple student forums throughout the semester in which students express their concerns or suggestions for JCU. We moderate the student forum so students can voice their comments in a safe space. We’re here to improve the JCU community and represent it to the best of our abilities. Student Services works alongside us, and I’m grateful to work with them. We’re a diverse cabinet, with people from all over the world. We all have different views and experiences, which provide a rich environment. We work well because of our multicultural nature, representing the internationality of JCU students.
What advice would you give to students about how they could get involved in the community?
We all have our own struggles, but I believe everyone should just go for it. Clubs are looking for new faces. I encourage people to talk to club leaders and show kindness. If you present yourself as a friend, you’ll be treated as a friend. That’s what I did, and that’s what worked best. People will admire enthusiasm and initiative as well. We’re a close-knit University, and we include everybody.
What are your plans after graduation?
I am interested in sectors such as investment banking, but I would like to pursue sustainability through my company. Italy has a lot of potential since it’s an agricultural country, so I would like to continue with my company here. I am in the beginning phases and I am forming a board of directors. I want to make a difference in the world and to be remembered for contributing something good to mankind. My perfect job would be a place where I can make money, make a positive impact on society, and serve God. I try to make society better through my work, that’s my purpose.