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MAFA Board Reflections '18: Raphie

By Raphie Torralba 

Do it because you love yourself and your community:

MAFA board elections are coming up and we’ll all be reflecting on our terms and experience on MAFA board.

As my term on board ends, I can’t help but think back to around this time last year when I had started thinking about running:

I was the MAFA representative for FASO at UW-Madison my sophomore year. This role really let me step out of my comfort zone and get to know so many of the amazing people who make up MAFA. I thought having that experience was enough and didn’t seriously consider running for MAFA board until later. It was something that sat at the back of my mind as a possibility, especially when past co-outreach, Nina and Mads, brought it up in our rep meetings. Having just been elected as VP-I for FASO at UW-Madison, I was wary about my schedule for my junior year. On top of that, I went on a trip in the Philippines to visit family for about a month and would be taking an organic chemistry course over the summer, so I didn’t put much thought into it at the beginning of summer break. But if I’m going to be honest, being on that trip was when I thought about the idea of running the most.  While I was there, my lolo passed away and I was very lucky to be surrounded by all of our family in that hard time. Being in that environment and being immersed in the culture, I realized they were the reason I was part of FASO and MAFA in the first place. It also helped that Sammy, Nina, and Maddie had all personally reached out to me to consider running. And so I ran in the second round with Nicole and Kala.

Fast forward to our transition meeting mid-summer:

Transitions were so imperative to initiating the incredible board dynamic that we have. Being able to spend even just that weekend together was so important for us and I genuinely believe that we established good connections and friendships between board members. I was lucky that I had known Sammy for a while and got to know Maddie and Nina a bit when I was the external rep. Otherwise, I was actually quite nervous to be on a board where I hardly knew the other members. I’m extremely grateful to Maddie for being the friendliest person I know amongst other things. I was the first to arrive at her apartment at Loyola that weekend, and she made it so easy for me to be comfortable around Nicole and Kala right away, since they’re really close. Now, whenever I see anyone on this board, whether it be in person at a MAFA event or our weekly e-board meetings over google hangouts, I feel happy and at ease. They’ve collectively been my biggest supporters this past year and I love them all so much.

Everybody knows the co-outreach chairs:

Being co-outreach was the most fun I had this year. At the same time, it came with a large amount of responsibility, as any board position does. From sorting members into MAFAmilies and coordinating each family head, to coordinating monthly meetings with around 26 MAFA representatives that fit both ours and their schedules. This position definitely keeps you busy.  I am incredibly proud of our MAFA representatives after seeing a lot of the hard work they’ve done for their respective organizations, be it PCN or big events like MFAS. We’ve seen many of them develop amazing leadership. It makes me happy that Maddie and I have continued that a tradition that allowed the representatives to become friendly and comfortable with each other. That’s what I wanted from the beginning and I’m happy to see great initiative from that group.

Being on this board is Worth It™:

I had to work very hard while on MAFA board to do my duties as co-outreach and even harder to complete the goals that Maddie and I had set for ourselves. All of the long nights and weekends spent working was all worth it, knowing that it was all to  make MAFA a good community for our people. I’m also so glad I had Maddie at my side as co-outreach. I cannot say enough about her but, I’ll try to keep it short. She’s the queen of spreadsheet organization and schedule planning. She’s strong willed and a determined worker and I could not have stayed on track without her.  We supported each other and I love her dearly. The whole board was an incredible support system and they all worked incredibly hard for MAFA this year. I am so proud and wish them all the best.

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