Resident: Laityn Russell
House: Hansen-UF

My name is Laityn Russell and I am a third-year Telecommunication Production major with a minor in Sociology. I am from New Smyrna Beach which is a small beach town on the east coast of Florida. It can be best explained as fifteen minutes south of Daytona Beach, FL.

The Southern Scholarship Foundation was my way to college. It offered me a chance to come to Gainesville and pursue my dreams of attending college. Without it, I would not have been able to afford the overwhelming rent bills let alone tuition. It was a way to better not only my education but myself. It was not until I got here that I realized that it is so much more than that. It is a community of people who empower, encourage and love one another. Since my freshman year, I have become closer to the girls in my home who have helped me grow as a person. I have learned things about different cultures, alternative perspectives and, most importantly, the importance of friendship. The girls in my home have become not only my friends but my family. They hold me together during the struggles of the semester and are there for the peaks of my college experiences. SSF has also given me real world experience that has helped me further my career. During my first and second semester at Hansen, I served as Social Coordinator. Through this position, I was able to help coordinate events with other houses and meet incredible people outside of my own. My fourth semester I served as Business Manager which taught me how to create a budget and manage the inventories of our house. Without these positions, I do not believe I would be where I am.

I am currently the Vice President for Swamp Records which is UF’s student-run record label. I owe this position to my prior position experience at SSF. Swamp Records organization has helped me better understand who I am as a person and how I can turn my love for music and lack of talent into a career. Through this position, I manage and direct eight teams which include the label’s branding, business, events and artist activities. I help the label function by working with local music venues, orchestrating musical events and pushing artists to break through the barriers of the music industry. I am able to work closely with the Gainesville music scene and have developed deep-rooted relationships with people who share the same passions as me. I have grown to recognize my unique ability to help others achieve their musical dreams, something that leaves me feeling valued and empowered. This has helped me discover who I am as a person. Before Swamp Records, I thought my love for music was something that was just a hobby and could never turn into a job. Now I know it is a foundation for my career, my vehicle for helping others. Using my newfound strengths in communication, art direction, and event management, I have found that I can help others achieve their dreams, something that has become my own.