Profile: Dave Herrera Santacruz

Photo courtesy of Eema Ibrahim

Photo courtesy of Eema Ibrahim

UMD is full of exceptional students, but in every university there are a few that go above and beyond. That is Dave Herrera Santacruz.

Santacruz is a senior social work major and is involved with a plethora of organizations on campus.  

He is the student sustainability director for UMD Student Association, a position he created, co-president of student sustainability coalition, and is involved in the Mortar Board Honor Society.  

Santacruz is originally from Columbia and moved to Saint Louis Park when he was 10 years old.

He wanted to go to UMD ever since he was in middle school.

“When I was in 7th or 8th grade, my class toured the campus just for fun and then ever since then I just loved UMD,” said Santacruz.

He also said that the outdoor, music and art culture of Duluth is really what he was looking for, so going to school in Duluth seemed like the obvious choice.

Santacruz enjoying the view.

Santacruz enjoying the view.

Going into college Santacruz didn’t know what sustainability was. He was first introduced to it at one of the student activity fairs by the Director of Sustainability, Mindy Granley.

“From that moment on it just opened so many doors… I would’ve never expected myself to be sitting in congress or doing a speech in front of city hall in Duluth about sustainability,” said Santacruz.

One of the major impacts that he has left on UMD is creating a program that helps students that struggle with hunger.

He first thought about doing something after he read an article about how the Twin Cities was working on a program called Swipe Out Hunger which strives to give students a free meal when they need it.

He then knew immediately that UMD needed a program similar to the Twin Cities..

It took about a year and a half of phone calls, proposals and dead ends until his idea finally became a reality.

“Essentially it’s an opportunity for students who are in need of a meal to go to Champ’s Cupboard and get a free swipe for Superior Dining,” said Santacruz.

When he is not working on sustainability or doing school work, he enjoys going to breweries, hanging out with friends and listening to music.

Santacruz making some breakfast

Santacruz making some breakfast

He also is a big fan of the outdoors and loves all of the different experiences that Duluth has to offer.

“We can do so many different things that people have to travel a lot of miles to get to a place like what we have in our backyard,” said Santacruz.

His plans for post-graduation right now are sort of up in the air as he figures out exactly what path he wants to pursue for life after UMD, but wherever he ends up, his legacy he has left on UMD is obvious.

VoicesTyler Knaeble