Newly-elected ASO president is here to stay

Dabbling in politics of any kind isn’t something one would expect from an agricultural engineering major, but that’s exactly what Gabriel Mellibosky is set on doing.

The 20-year-old’s aspiration to pursue a career in the engineering discipline following completion of his studies originates from his family’s ties with the field.

Back in his home country of Chile, his family owns their very own farm. In addition to tending to the field, they raised and sold “thousands of pigs” to a local company.

It was also in Chile, during the eighth grade, that Mellibosky had his first encounter with leadership.

“I was the president of the entire class,” he said.

History repeats itself as Mellibosky wins the student government executive board elections held two weeks ago. In winning, he claimed the spot of Associated Students Organization (ASO) presidency for the 2011-2012 term.

“I like the politics of [being a leader],” he said.

Mellibosky, who is currently completing his term as an ASO senator, got involved with the student government shortly after joining Pierce College’s French Club last semester.

“I started seeing how everything worked, and I liked it,” said Mellibosky, who is now in his third semester of college.

He eventually found himself getting more involved with ASO through the club’s direct link to the student government.

According to Mellibosky, one of his strengths as a leader is his ability to work well with others.

“I get along with everybody,” he said. “Because of that, I’m able to get people behind me in order to accomplish things.”

Though his term as ASO president doesn’t officially commence until the beginning of summer intercession, Mellibosky is already working directly with current ASO president Daniel Axelrod to get a better understanding of what he will be dealing with as the head of the executive board.

“I’ve learned a lot from him,” said Mellibosky. “I see how he handles things and what he does [as president].”

It isn’t part of the job description, but Axelrod feels, as the current position holder, personally responsible for ensuring that his successor knows what he’s doing.

“At the beginning [of my presidency], I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Axelrod. “It was all forced upon me.”

It isn’t a secret that Axelrod was personally supporting Mellibosky’s candidacy.

“I thought he would be the person to carry the torch and keep things going,” he said.

He isn’t the only one who thinks highly of Mellibosky.

“Gabriel is a hard worker, and he always comes through with whatever he says,” said fellow ASO senator EJ Tormes, who will join his executive board as the club council president. “I’m really excited to have him on board.”

Mellibosky says that he does intend to go down the same path that Axelrod started this semester.

“I want to keep the momentum going,” he said.

Like most community college students, Mellibosky’s biggest concern is the direct ramification the current California budget crisis has on higher education. He plans on centering his presidency on the issue.

“Students need to have an active voice,” he said. “If we don’t say anything about the price on education being raised, [the California legislature] is just going to keep raising it.”

It’s been a while since Pierce has had an ASO president serve the year-long term in full. The most recent example of this is Nick Naczinski, the elected 2010-2011 president. He stepped down from office after one semester, and was replaced by then-vice president, Axelrod.

Mellibosky plans on breaking the tradition.

“I would not have even considered running if I didn’t know I would be staying for the entire year,” he said. “I don’t believe in leaving things undone halfway through.”

Gabriel Mellibosky poses after he won the ASO elections. (Jose Romero 2011)