Maya Bañuelos has been positively impacting the California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) community since her first year on campus. Now, as a third-year, Bañuelos focuses the majority of her time to being an advocate for sports at CSUMB through her position as the Sports Club Council (SCC) president.
“I would say I’m an advocate for all athletes. I say ‘athletes’ more than ‘sports clubs’ because there’s no difference. You’re still an athlete regardless of if you’re in a recognized sport or in a sports club,” explained Bañuelos .
Bañuelos’ passion for being involved in school affairs originated in high school, when she “was a part of the school senate helping with dances and stuff. Then, I joined CSUMB cheer my freshman year and they needed a sports council representative, so I stepped in. From there, I just went for it and applied to be SCC president,” during her second year on campus.
While Bañuelos works hard to advocate for athletes rights, her role in Associated Students (AS) goes beyond this.
“I hold a role as the liaison between the sports clubs and AS, but I’m also part of the executive board and internal affairs. I also currently sit on a community for the search for the new library dean,” she shared.
“Having the opportunity to be on a search committee and be that student voice is a lot of responsibility,” said Bañuelos. “For anybody to bestow that responsibility on me is great and it’s like ‘thank you for believing in me.’”
Bañuelos said that without this opportunity, she “would have never interacted with these librarians, library analysts and the dean of health services and sciences. They’re really cool, kind and interesting people, and I learn a lot from them.”
As SCC president, Bañuelos works tirelessly to ensure sports club athletes at CSUMB have access to all things necessary to keep them safe, happy and healthy.
“This year I’ve really been advocating for an athletic trainer, because we currently don’t have one,” she explained. “With the fee referendum increase, we do have the opportunity to finally get a trainer.”
According to Bañuelos, “we have different tiers of low, medium and high risk sports. Some of our clubs are in that high-risk tier” and would benefit from having an athletic trainer employed by the university.
“For example, Otter Cheer and Men and Women’s Rugby are in that tier because they are very much so contact sports,” said Bañuelos. While these clubs are not officially recognized as sports teams, they would still greatly benefit from having a trained professional to help with any injuries sustained while on campus.
“I don’t like to take credit for a lot of things, because I think it’s a team effort, but I would say the thing I’m proudest of is advocating for an athletic trainer. For me that was really personal,” she shared.
“On April 30 of last year, I completely tore my ACL during the Otter Cheer and Dance Showcase… when I went to catch this particular girl, the weight just shifted and my knee completely went out and snapped,” explained Bañuelos.
“I still caught her, though,” she clarified.
“Most of my job is communicating with anybody and everybody. Right now, that means communicating not only with clubs, but also with AS president David Ledesma, Peyton Huck, our vice president of internal affairs and with my counterpart Natalie Peña, the president of the Inter-Club Council. Even if we’re not working on any events together, it’s all about helping each other out and getting and giving that support,” she explained.
“I love being so connected. If I wasn’t in AS, I wouldn’t have made some really good friendships; I feel like most of my friendships came from AS,” she said.
Bañuelos explained that while she has so far loved her time in AS, at times it has been difficult to balance her professional duties with her academic ones.
“On one hand, you really want to go support something and do all of these fun things, but at the end of the day you really have to balance that out with your academic work. Finding that balance was really challenging for me for a while.”
According to her, the biggest thing to keep in mind in order to keep a manageable schedule is how many units you’re taking. “My cap is 15 units. Especially if you’re in a leadership role, it’s vital to know when to delegate and communicate what you need. You need to know how much you can take.”
She said that it’s extremely helpful to build class and work schedules around each other in order to ensure there is no overlap between what you want to do and what you have to do.
Being SCC president is more than just a job for Bañuelos.
“I don’t clock in whenever I talk to a student. I try to make every experience with whoever I’m interacting with special to them,” she said. “I’ve really grown as a person just by being in AS and interacting with all of the amazing people on our campus.”