Newly-elected student government executives plan for change

Newly elected ASO president, Gustavo Sandoval poses outside the entrance of the Library and Learning Crossroads in Woodland Hills, Calif. April 23, 2013 Photo: Jasson Bautista
Newly elected ASO president, Gustavo Sandoval poses outside the entrance of the Library and Learning Crossroads in Woodland Hills, Calif. April 23, 2013 Photo: Jasson Bautista

The members of the Associated Student Organization’s next executive council, who were announced Friday, April 19 after a two-day election, intend to enact change reaching beyond their time in office.

The incoming four-member council–President Gus Sandoval, Vice President Mariela Valdez, Treasurer Adriana Lemus, and Club Council President Krishna Ayungao–wants Pierce’s student government to be readily accessible and better known among students.

Sandoval’s goals for his next two semesters as president involve reassessing the ASO’s distribution of duties and working on plans that reach beyond his term.

“Some of them are projects for the year, some of them are projects for the next three years,” Sandoval said. “There needs to be some type of consciousness past my term to continue to work toward those efforts.”

Nearly 30,000 students attend Pierce, according to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office’s website, but an email sent by the ASO’s clerk shows that only 452 ballots were cast.

Sandoval has been extensively involved with the Pierce community since last spring, and said he wants to engender a campus-wide awareness of Pierce’s overlooked offerings.

“I come across students that don’t even know that we exist,” Sandoval said. “We owe them. They should know that they could come to us for anything they need.”

Before he takes office, Sandoval said he wants to change some of the ASO’s fundamental guidelines, like its constitution.

“The constitution was made years and years and years ago. It’s an antiquated document,” Sandoval said.

Currently, there are no means for future cabinets’ reference past meetings, and Sandoval said he will appoint a historian to maintain an accessible, searchable log of the goings-on of the ASO.

“Every year, what ends up happening [is that] you have people who are senators, and then they may end up being on the executive board, and then they graduate,” Sandoval said. “And now, you basically have to reset the consciousness of the ASO.”

The campus’ availability of Wi-Fi is an issue Sandoval wants to specifically address once he takes office as well.

“Wi-Fi is more of a dream than a reality on campus,” Sandoval said. “We need to talk with the administration and the tech guys on campus to make that happen sooner rather than later.”

Vice president-elect Valdez said that she was hesitant to run for election, but ultimately felt being an ASO officer would help her change the campus for the better.

“I decided to take the position because I feel that there are many things that need to be changed,” Valdez said. “I feel that many students aren’t aware of what’s going on at Pierce.”

Valdez said she wants to make better use of the ASO’s Twitter account, and post a YouTube video when next semester begins to introduce the officers to the school.

A primary issue Valdez wants to address is the school’s advertising policy that she said restricts student interaction.

“I feel that we’re so restricted with where we can post flyers or where we can publicize our events,” Valdez said. “I would like to get more people to know to really get people to know what’s going on at Pierce and what they have.”

The president-elect, vice president-elect and club council president-elect agree there should be more places on campus for students to meet outside of class.

“Students don’t have a place to stay on campus. I believe that would help students feel at home on campus,” Ayungao said.

Sandoval also said building a student union would bring students together and inspire more student involvement in the Pierce community.

“When you see people on campus, they’re usually walking in onesies and twosies,” Sandoval said. “If we had a student union building, they’re going to be more engaged, and the more they’re going to realize there’s an ASO.”

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