The newly elected Associated Student (AS) government was invited to speak at the Community Journalism class on April 15 at California State University, Monterey Bay. In a panel discussion set up, the class asked the AS government about their positions, plans for the upcoming academic year, and challenges they have faced during their time in student government.
All of the new student leaders shared similar opinions on why they chose to pursue student government. Each of them wanted to help students and ensure every voice was heard.
Jonathan Semillo, the 2022-2023 vice president of internal affairs, said, “It gave me a chance to see matters on campus going unheard and make sure they are heard.”
The new college of science senator, Peyton Huck, explained she had gone to a private school and noticed student voices going unnoticed. “I went to a private school, and I didn’t really stand with their values,” she said. “I always wanted to be a voice for the students.”
Throughout her time in AS, the new vice president of university affairs, Diane Ruiz, explained she had learned a lot about teamwork and working with different people.
“Teamwork is something you have to be used to,” Ruiz said. “It’s something you have to foster in a sense. [You have to] have an open mindset and an open heart. Only in uncomfortable settings are you allowed to be able to grow.”
The conversation later diverged into questioning the new student government’s plans for the upcoming year.
Semillo stressed the importance of hiring new staff members to join the 2022-2023 student government. Going into the position of vice president of internal affairs, he explained this was his main priority for the new year.
Students looking to get involved in student government can apply by April 18 for the open positions. Students can see the open positions and get the Google Form to apply at https://csumb.edu/as/
Another priority the team expressed was improving community engagement, especially as the campus community finds a new sense of normality after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“One of the challenges we all have is community engagement,” said the new Basic Needs Senator, Jewelia Fletcher. “We want everyone to have the best experience possible.”
The new AS president, David Ledesma, expanded a bit, speaking on wanting to build and strengthen the connections throughout the campus.
“The way that I envision it is to repave the connections between the colleges. I want to focus on advocacy throughout all of our divisions,” said Ledesma. “I want us to make stances on those key issues.”
Huck also stressed the importance of making sure all opinions are accounted for. She explained she finds many student issues off of MyRaft and brings them up in their weekly senate meetings. However, these meetings are open to everyone, and the AS government encouraged students to come in and share their voices.
Students can find the Zoom link for these meetings on the AS website. The meetings take place every Monday from 12:15 to 2 p.m.
The central theme that the new student government seemed to share was re-building life on campus, bringing back old traditions before the pandemic, and starting new ones.
“Last year, we were just fighting to be responsive during COVID times,” Ledesma said. “This year, we’re just trying to adjust. Next year, I want us to flourish and grow.”