Originally from Campeche, Mexico, Rebecca Olivera lived with a host family while attending high school in Georgia. During her junior year, she visited Florida Gulf Coast University and immediately decided that was where she wanted to go to college. While she was there, she had quite the impact on campus. She was a campus orientation leader for new students, a member of an international service organization called Rotaract, a member of a mentoring program on campus called Emerging Eagles, and a participant in a spring break service trip to New Orleans. She did all of that on top of founding the campus’s chapter of Phi Mu in 2012.
Rebeca’s commitment to service, and to the Phi Mu values of love, honor, and truth, continued after her graduation from FGCU in May, when she moved back to Mexico to earn a master’s degree at University of Monterrey. Her goal was to work on ending water pollution in her home country. Unfortunately, Rebeca’s life was cut short last week, when a gas leak in her apartment caused an explosion. Rebeca succumbed to second and third degree burns she suffered as a result on Saturday morning.
Rebeca’s sisters made a moving tribute to her on their Facebook page:
Additionally, many campus leaders spoke about her at a vigil on Monday evening. Valeria Garcia-Rea, assistant director for student support services, noted that “Rebeca wanted to make a difference,” as was evidenced by her belief that “everyone should have access to clean drinking water.” Michele Yovanovich, FGCU dean of students, spoke to her bright character: “She was such a sweet girl. She was one of those students that everybody loved.” Additionally, her sisters and friends talked about her welcoming smile and her caring spirit.
Rebeca herself left some lasting words of advice, in her orientation leader profile: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot of people on this campus are very nice and are willing to help; you just need to step out of your comfort zone.”
Rebeca certainly wasn’t afraid to step out of hers, and that should be an inspiration to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rebeca’s family and her Phi Mu sisters..
[via Naples News]