Uniandino stands out for his commitment to social responsibility and solidarity
Sergio Velásquez Yepes, cofounder of the project that benefits young leaders from Uniandes who receive financial support, explains how this initiative that has been replicated on a national level star
Sergio Yodeb Velásquez Yepes’ first day of class had an impact on the rest of his life. He is young, talented, a beneficiary of the financial support that the university provides, and was worried about not being accepted in his new environment.
This worry dissipated almost immediately when the student welcome ceremony began. Sergio found himself in an inclusive institution that gave him the comfort of making him feel permanently supported.
He explains that, “the day of the induction for new students, they told me that there was a group of Uniandes scholarship students who would support us with everything we needed. If we wanted to know anything about the university, they would help us. It was something that took away the fear of what was to come.”
He noted that, “After listening to the welcome talk and finding out about the advantages for new students, I said to myself ‘I want to get involved in this’. I contacted the leader of the group, told him some ideas that I had, and we started working. In November 2013, we established what today is called the Grupo Andar.
Over time, the idea that Sergio had on his first day of class took shape. He said that, “In the first semester of 2014 there were five of us working together, and by the second semester that year, our group had grown to forty.”
Sergio added that, “we planted a seed in the young people who were in their first semester that year. They all liked the idea of supporting a program and so started to work with us”.
This young leader and entrepreneur, who fulfilled his dream in 2018 by graduating from Los Andes, explained that Grupo Andar’s concrete objective is to “be the point of contact between the student and the university and tell them that, ‘they have a friend who knows the institution and who will help you’.”
This project, which began as just an idea, gained so much momentum over the years that the Ministry of Education saw potential in it.
“The Minister called us and asked us to explain in detail the structure of the proposals so as it could be replicated to support the ‘Ser Pilo Paga’ program. He explains that today, this proposal is called 'Sociedad Pilo'.
The Andar Group had such an impact on Sergio’s life that it even earned him important recognition when he was awarded the Distinction to Social Responsibility by the Universidad de los Andes for entrepreneurship projects that have an important impact on the community.
“This recognition was something unexpected. To tell you the truth, I didn’t think I was going to win. I felt very pleased being part of a project that had had such an important impact on the Uniandes community and that is now being replicated in other universities throughout the country. This makes me very happy.”