What Matters to U

What Matters To U is our flagship event. The first installments - featuring Bill Nye and Ken Jeong - took place in February and April of 2019. The moderated discussions were a huge success among the student body.

The purpose of What Matters To U is to bring thought leaders, change makers, and innovators to spark conversation and action within the campus community. The program aims to provoke discourse about relevant topics oftentimes not covered in the classroom, and to engage students with a variety of perspectives.

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Sybrina Fulton Event Flyer

What Matters to U Presents: Sybrina Fulton

Thursday, October 8th, 2020


Watch On Demand 

Sybrina Fulton is fully committed to transforming family tragedy into social change. The death of her 17-year-old son, Trayvon Martin, during a violent confrontation in February 2012, has catapulted her into becoming an inspiring spokesperson for parents and concerned citizens across the country.

The publicity surrounding Trayvon’s death and the ensuing trial launched the country into a national debate. Despite the intense struggle of losing a child, Fulton has become a role model to many by turning her grief into advocacy. She lends her voice to speak against violence towards children and the need to build better, safer communities for all.

Her message not only appeals to people’s hearts, it is also one of hope and change, exemplified by her personal experiences and endeavors. As a mother, she inspires audiences to continuously educate their children about civil rights and to help them feel excepted as part of the ever-changing society.

A Miami native, Fulton is a graduate of Florida Memorial University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She's the proud mother to son Jahvaris Fulton, worked for the Miami-Dade County Housing Development Agency for more than 25 years, and is a member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens.

The event was moderated by Dean Osamudia James and Student Government President Abigail Adeleke.

For more information, check out the event preview and event recap.


What Matters to U Presents: Governor John Kasich

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

5pm | Shalala Student Center Grand Ballroom 

Governor John Kasich served at the 69th Governor of Ohio. Kasich is an American politician, author, and television news host who is known for his strong beliefs in achieving solutions by overcoming issues that create division and striving for unity.

While serving as the governor of Ohio, Kasich was able to close an $8 billion budget shortfall while reducing taxes by $5 billion. Prior to his time as governor, he served in Congress for 18 years and was elected to the U.S. House at just 30 years old where he went on to become the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

This event was moderated by The Honorable Ellen Venzer, Miami Law adjunct professor, and Keegan Gibson, a UM senior majoring in biomedical engineering.

For more information, check out the event preview and event recap.

What Matters to U Presents: Megan Rapinoe

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

5pm | Shalala Student Center Grand Ballroom 

Two-time World Cup Champion and co-captain of the US Women’s National Team, Megan Rapinoe is a fan favorite and one of the team’s most technical players. A vocal leader on and off the pitch, Megan helped lead the USWNT to the 2019 Women’s World Cup Championship scoring some of the biggest goals of the tournament.

This event was moderated by Shirelle Jackson, Senior Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Development, and Claudia DeLorenzo, a UM senior majoring in Neuroscience.

For more information, check out the event preview and event recap.


What Matters to U Presents: Ken Jeong

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

5pm | Shalala Student Center Grand Ballroom 

Renowned doctor, actor and comedian, Ken Jeong was the host of the second installment of the What Matters to U lecture series. 

Jeong is best known for his comedic role in The Hangover trilogy, but in addition to being a movie star, Jeong is a licensed physician who obtained his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ken Jeong started pursuing his passion for comedy by performing at improv comedy clubs in Los Angeles while still practicing medicine. 

The moderators for this event were Jack Camoratto, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, and Winston Warrior, lecturer for the School of Communication. Jeong discussed his unique career path along with the challenges that came along the way.

For a recap of the event, click here.

What Matters to U Presents: Bill Nye

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

12pm | Shalala Student Center Grand Ballroom

Presented by the University of Miami Student Government, What Matters to U deviates from the traditional lecture by bringing high profile speakers to campus to host a moderated discussion. The host for our inaugural event was renowned scientist and TV personality Mr. Bill Nye.

Bill Nye is most well known for hosting the popular television show, Bill Nye the Science Guy from 1993-1998. Prior to his fame, Bill Nye worked as a mechanical engineer for Boeing in Seattle. 

The event was moderated by Jack Comaratto and Andrea Candelaria, and the main topic was climate change.

For a recap of the event, click here.