Boca Governor Der’Resha Bastien discusses her proudest accomplishments, goals for the campus

Bastien started as a desk clerk in the Student Union. Now, she’s the Boca campus governor, working to mentor the student body in every way she can


Der’Resha Bastien. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

Elyscia Saint-Hilaire, Contributing Writer

Coming to FAU with a “get in, get out mentality,” Der’Resha Bastien never imagined she would one day be the governor of the Boca campus.


It wasn’t until her sophomore year that she knew she wanted to be more involved.


Because of her job working at the Student Union help desk, she started to interact with the campus body, quickly finding a love for helping others.


She then set her sights on a House of Representatives seat beginning in fall 2016.


What she didn’t know is that she’d have to wait to have her shot. Because all of the seats weren’t filled at the time, she wasn’t elected as a majority vote couldn’t take place.


“For three months straight I didn’t have a majority vote so I could not become part of the House. That was hard for me. I had to sit in every meeting, unable to participate,” Bastien said.


She finally became part of the House in November 2016. Four months later, she decided to step out of her comfort zone and run for governor.


But before starting her campaign, she dealt with feelings of self-doubt. Working alongside a predominately white, male Student Government, she didn’t see anyone who looked like her.


“I thought that because I was black and I was a woman that it was going to be impossible,” Bastien said. “When you looked at our student body president, vice president, governor, at the time they were all white males, and I felt intimidated.”


Not sure if she should begin her campaign, she looked to her mother and grandmother for advice.


“I had my mom tell me to ‘just be yourself, express yourself, and regardless of how you look, you will get it done,’” Bastien said. “And that’s when I took my leap of faith, because regardless of what is around me, I’m going to be my best.”


She said she knew that if she worked hard enough, she could accomplish her goal. But she had some help along the way.


During her campaign, she received support from the black student body and organizations such as the FAU NAACP, the Black Student Union, the Women Empowerment Club, and her Delta Incorporated sorority.


Running against then-President pro-tempore Marianne Alex, Bastien wanted to increase awareness of student involvement opportunities, Student Government’s transparency, and various on-campus initiatives.


When she won the election, she ensured she had a diverse administrative cabinet, something she felt was lacking in previous governors’ administrations.


Even though she achieved her goal, Bastien said that creating the Freshman Class Council is her proudest accomplishment. Acting as a gateway for students to join Student Government, the council seeks to help members interact with FAU student organizations.

Boca Governor Der’Resha Bastien speaks to the crowd at the Student Government flagpole dedication ceremony. Held Nov. 14, 2017, the event honored the installation of a flagpole recognizing veterans/missing in action soldiers. It now stands outside the Boca campus Student Union. Alexander Rodriguez | News Editor

As governor, she also started Jump Start Peer Coaching, a program that mentors African-American girls.


“I love watching the kids that I have worked with in Jump Start or Freshman Class Council grow and evolve and even work with me in the future,” she said. “Regardless of the title of being student govenor, my biggest accomplish is to invest, influence and mentor these people, and watching them transform in such a little time frame.”  


After she graduates in May this year, Bastien hopes to open a youth center in South Florida and help young adults make healthy life choices.


“I want to pay it forward. I always tell people that they can be better than me and they should strive to be greater than me,” she said.


She added that she prides herself on being a caring, yet stern leader.


Bastien’s Chief of Staff Roldane Plaisir said, “Der’Resha is a very determined individual. She becomes everyone’s big sister.”


Growing up in a single-parent household in an inner city part of northern Miami, Bastien said that she doesn’t dwell on her humble beginnings or allow them to discourage her endeavors.


“I always tell people when they ask me, ‘I want to know how do you do everything.’ Be better than me and forget where you came from,” Bastien said. “Your circumstances do not make you who you are. But most importantly, take care of yourself; you can’t pour from an empty cup.”  

Elyscia Saint-Hilaire is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].