Vice President of ASO becomes president

Barbara Lombrano, vice president of the ASO, was elected and voted in as its president. Photo: Mohammad Djauhari
Barbara Lombrano, vice president of the ASO, was elected and voted in as its president. Photo: Mohammad Djauhari

After 13 years in the Navy, one business management major hopes to make a big impact on campus in the year to come.

Barbara Lombrano, current vice president of the Associated Students Organization, was announced as the new ASO president Tuesday after elections last week. Lombrano defeated Chris Ruiz 91-33.

Student Engagement Coordinator Lara Conrady Wong said Lombrano has worked very hard to reach this point.

“I know that she number one, is a great student, number two, is a great leader,” Wong said. “I know she has the students interest at her heart and that is what is motivating her to take this on.”

Nobody ran for vice president. Mher Mkrtchian won treasurer unopposed, and Andre Necochea Barnett was victorious over George Amparan for club council president 62-57.  All student elected officials will hold office from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017.

Students casted 129 ballots in the elections that were held on the Mall on April 27 and April 28. Last year 509 students voted using survey monkey where any student with a laptop and the link was able to submit a ballot. Juan Astorga, dean of student engagement, would support a two week window including online voting next year to improve voter turnout.

“Individuals can log on anytime and gives our students a greater opportunity to vote,” Astorga said.

There are 49 clubs on campus this semester, all of which are a part of ASO, and funded by the $7 fee students pay each semester to be a member, according to Wong. ASO also funds events such as movie screenings and lecture series in The Great Hall, transfer events and scholarships.

Wong and Astorga are looking forward to working with Lombrano. Astorga hopes to increase the number of events in the coming semesters.

“We have great ideas on how to continue and increase student engagement,” Astorga said. “Idealy I’d like to see us to be able to fill up the Mall with activities and events on a more consistent basis.”

Lombrano said an early priority in her administration is getting everybody prepared and she wants anyone applying for ASO positions in the fall to get their paperwork done and do training in the summer.

“So we have a group of people ready to hit the ground running when fall starts,” Lombrano said.

Lombrano said she would like to update the constitution for the first time since March 2012, because it is supposed to be broad and bylaw specific, which “our constitution does not currently fall into,” according to Lombrano.

Up to two student senators represent departments, but often departments are not represented at all, according to Lombrano. She would like to end this and shift the process more toward shared governance where students represent their peers as a whole so everybody is represented.

“We have for a long time had a lot of these [shared governance] committees meetings that we never have student representation,” Lombrano said. “And that is what ASO should be dealing with, is the issues for our students and things here at Pierce College and helping to come up with the solutions on these issues.”

Wong said it is important for students to know that ASO is here for, and to represent them.

“The number one responsibility of officers is to represent the students, and be an advocate for overall student welfare and the needs of the pierce college students,” Wong said.

Astorga said that if students are more involved in campus activity and have a sense of belonging, they have higher retention rates with an end result of meeting their goals, such as transferring or graduating.

“That is really what Conrady and myself are committed to, how do we engage leadership, either with students who are in ASO or in a student club or participating on any activity in campus, that they can feel like they have a purpose, that they matter,” Astorga said. “Individuals here are going to bend over backwards to help them be successful.”

President elect Lombrano believes it is important to take an active role in improving student life, and creating that environment for success.

“It is ok to complain about problems and issues, but if you are not going to try and be part of the solution you shouldn’t disappear and complain about it,” Lombrano said.