Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series of feature stories that highlight diversity on Florida Poly’s campus and celebrate Black History Month.
When sophomore Ritchel Calvaire began his studies at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida, he knew he needed to find a way to get involved and give back.
Calvaire had dedicated time during middle and high school to seeking out opportunities to volunteer and help others, including helping instructors and his school’s registrar during summer break, and he wanted to continue that tradition through college.
Now, as a resident assistant, the computer engineering major said he’s able to connect with and make a difference in the lives of more people than ever.
“It’s basically an opportunity to make the college experience better for students,” Calvaire said.
He works to organize and host movie nights in the residence halls and encourages other student residents to make friends and get to know one another.
“We also help those who are actively struggling,” said Calvaire, a graduate of North Miami Beach Senior High School in North Miami, Florida. “For example, the first week of school a girl was homesick and crying and I sat with her and spoke to her because sometimes all people need is someone to chat with them and listen to them.”
Calvaire also was selected from a rigorous application process to become a Presidential Ambassador for the 2019-20 academic year. These exceptional students are trusted with the important job of representing the University and its president during formal events and other activities.
“I was hesitant about it because it seemed to be at a higher level than what I was used to because I would be representing the Office of the President and the president himself, but I ended up really liking it,” said Calvaire, who originally is from Haiti. “I have opportunities to grow my personal skills, and still get to do the thing I’ve always done, which is be a part of a leadership organization and give back to the community.”
Calvaire said he is grateful for the opportunities he has at Florida Poly and he hopes he can inspire other students regardless of gender, race, or background.
“I am me and I think people look at my skills and look at me as a person rather than as a person of color,” Calvaire said. “I serve as a role model for students in general for how I carry myself and what I represent.
“I hope others will follow in my footsteps in the way I help others.”
Director of Communications