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INTO USF Student Leader Wins Student Body Vice President

Rhondel Whyte is the definition of student involvement. As a resident assistant, vice president of standards for the USF Ambassadors, and president of Sigma Lambda Beta, Whyte has had a lot on his plate this year. As if that wasn't enough, he decided to run as vice president of the student body for the upcoming school year.

Through the "We The Students" campaign, Whyte ran alongside Jean Cocco to ensure that the USF community remembers the reason for its existence: the students. Once Whyte learned of the campaign's vision, he knew that he wanted to play a part in its success.

"The thing that resonated most with me was the concept of 'We The Students,' the fact that all decisions here at our university can be controlled if 'We The Students' really take a stance," said Whyte.

As an international student, Whyte knows the importance of connecting with others and becoming part of the USF community. His journey for student empowerment began as an INTO USF student leader.

"I have always believed in empowering others and this tied into my work at INTO by making the students as integrated in the USF community as they could be. Given this opportunity [as student body vice president] to really be the advocate for the students was something that I could not turn down," said Whyte.

This is not Whyte's first attempt at winning over the USF population. He claimed the title of Homecoming King this past fall. It was at his crowning that he initially realized his impact at USF, not only as a student, but also as a leader.

"We were not required to have a platform while running for court, but my platform, none the less, was to engage the international community in all things homecoming because it is such an American concept. When I won the crown, I was immediately surrounded by tons of people, including international students. This was when I realized the impact that I had and the impact that I could have with the students," said Whyte.

Beyond his years as a student, Whyte hopes to make a difference in his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago. He has seen the level of corruption in the state's political system and hopes to turn that around.

"I ultimately want to become the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago and really bring about change. For me, it's all about potential. Right now, it's the potential for the USF community and for tomorrow, it's the potential for my country," said Whyte.