College is often described as a chance to grow and become a new person. For senior David Anzures, this meant stepping up and becoming a leader despite his shy and introverted personality.
It was his shyness which pushed him to become involved on campus.
“I wanted to branch out of my comfort zone,” Anzures said. “I wasn’t that involved in high school. I didn’t do much. So in college I decided I was going to give it a go.”
Anzures is now involved in multiple organizations.
“I’m part of a lot of multicultural organizations such as Alliance: Latino Diversity and Allies (ALIANZA), Helping Everyone Regardless of Orientation (HERO) and I’m actually the Inclusion Committee Chair of Student Senate,” Anzures said.
As a human services and sociology double major, Anzures said he has always had a passion for social justice. His love for being vocal about equality and standing up for others started in high school. However, he and his friend, Shyla Kallhoff, decided to take their passion for helping others to a national level in their senior year of college.
The two entered a T-Mobile competition known as the Changemakers Challenge in the early months of 2018.
“It’s funny, I don’t actually have a T-Mobile plan,” Anzures said. “I actually have Sprint.”
The duo became two of the 30 contestants to travel to Seattle. There they promoted their initiative, “Common Ground.”
“Common Ground” is a educational workshop for LGBTQ youth and allies and it provides useful information such as definitions for common phrases, how to be supportive and how to avoid hurtful stereotypes. In the application, Kallhoff described their plan as an in-depth, intersectional training/education workshop suitable for the general public where people can increase their knowledge on topics and issues relating to the LGBTQ population.
While Kallhoff is the one who submitted the application, it was a team effort.
“It was a joint idea we had been working on,” Kallhoff said. “But it’s been ‘us’ the whole time, working on it together.”
Anzures and Kalloff have known each other since freshman year of college and Anzures considers them to be best friends.
“We met at a meeting, I forget which one, but we were introduced by a mutual friend,” Kallhoff said.
While in Seattle, the two went to T-Mobile headquarters to promote their program to T-Mobile executives and received feedback on how to strengthen “Common Ground.” They were given mentorships to give advice and guide them to help expand the initiative.
In the application, the two describe what makes it so groundbreaking.
“The workshop ‘Common Ground’ is unique because of the program’s call to action upon completion of the educational workshop,” Kallhoff said. “The workshop is step one, but enabling allies or more fortunate members of the LGBT+ community to get involved and help youth is step two. There are support groups and homes for LGBT+ youth, and there are training programs for people wanting to learn more.”
However, despite taking on multiple leadership roles and being a key member of “Common Ground,” Anzures does not always view himself as a leader.
Anzures, however, described his leadership style as more laid back.
“I like to be behind the scenes and collaborate with people,” Anzures said. “A lot of people think I’m loud and I’m actually really shy, and I don’t like talking in front of large groups.”
Junior Asma Hassan met Anzures through Sex and Gender Equality (SAGE), which later became HERO, and said they had a “friend crush,” which is a desire to be someone’s friend. She also witnessed the growth of “Common Ground” as Anzures and Kallhoff started with just an idea.
“It was pretty cool,” Hassan said. “They obviously have such a passion for it, and you can really see it in their work.”
Hassan has also watched Anzures grow as a leader.
“He leads from behind,” Hassan said. “He doesn’t always see himself as a leader which blows my mind.”
Hassan went on to credit Northwest with Anzure’s success.
“It’s amazing actually,” Hassan said. “At first he was very introverted. Then he saw us, other campus leaders, and held onto different pieces of our leadership style. He’s really empowering and very humble.”
During the school year Anzures spends most of his time in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office, often just hanging out with friends, studying or talking to other campus leaders.
Even though he spends much of his time being a role model on campus, Anzures still finds time for himself, usually playing video games, notably “Overwatch.”
“I liked ‘Blizzard,’” Anzures said. “I used to play ‘World of Warcraft’ which was a terrible phase. Then they came out with ‘Overwatch’ and I started playing.”
Anzures demonstrates the idea that not all leaders need to be extroverted and bold to make a difference on campus. Often times a more laid back yet passionate approach is what’s needed to make a change.