The quote Jami Crespo has posted in her Instant Messenger profile from Marian Wright Edelman that “service is the rent we pay for living” perfectly describes Jami and her selfless dedication to the Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis communities.
The numerous nominations of Jami for this award highlighted her passionate work as an executive board member for Dance Marathon, a 12-hour fund-raiser that benefits the St. Louis Children’s Miracle Network, and as a program leader for Campus Y’s Washington University H.O.P.E. (HIV Outreach, Prevention, and Education). Jami’s involvement in Washington University H.O.P.E. has led her to coordinate and teach HIV education programs for her peers and St. Louis community members. This year, Jami also worked hard to direct the A.I.D.S. Show (Artistic Interpretation Designed to Stimulate), a variety show that raised campus and community awareness. The show, co-sponsored by the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness, featured acts from student groups, such as the Cultural Diversity Players and Uncle Joe’s Peer Counselors, as well as St. Louis organizations including Club CHIPS, a St. Louis area health activism group.
Apart from her leadership positions in campus organizations, Jami tutors a Bosnian housekeeper in English and has been an advocate for the rights of campus workers. She mobilized students to vote on Election Day through Project Democracy and has served as a table leader for the Catholic Student Center’s Awakenings retreat. Jami also spent a semester immersing herself in the Spanish language and Chilean culture in Santiago, Chile.
Jami is a graduating senior in the College of Arts and Sciences with majors in Spanish and Social Thought and Analysis with a focus on social inequality. She is originally from West Allis, Wisconsin and plans to move to Washington, D.C. to pursue a career in health policy advocacy in the nonprofit or government sector.
Jami’s ethic of service shines through in the statement by one of her nominators, Aaron Seligman: “Though Jami has been a leader for many projects, she prefers to let someone else have their picture in the paper, give the quote, and even take credit; Jami does not like to be in the spotlight. She believes that results matter more than accolades and she would rather make someone else happy than bring attention to herself.”
Jami worked for the National Puerto Rican Coalition in Washington, D.C. during July and August of 2006. There she monitored federal legislation in the areas of health and education and wrote legislative updates. She lobbied on the Hill on behalf of both Puerto Rican and Latino health issues and researched and compiled educational information on the Medicare Part D Prescription drug program.
From August 2005 to May 2006, Jami is serving as a fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in their Public Policy Fellowship in D.C. She is working in the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), where she researches and compiles data to assist in the development of legislation related to health issues. She supports the Legislative Assistants for Health and HIV/AIDS with research, writing and preparation of documents for Congressional Subcommittee Hearings and Congressional Briefings, and also drafts floor statements and constituent letters.
Jami also volunteers with a mentoring program called College Bound, in which she is mentoring a high school Latina on issues such as graduating high school and attending college, and helping her with a required policy brief about human trafficking. She is also a volunteer with Whitman Walker AIDS Clinic in Washington, D.C. She works in the Food Bank, which provides healthy food to individuals infected with the disease.