Update: Associated Student victors were announced, Friday, May 17th.
The Shatford’s second floor was quiet, the faint buzz of whispered conversations noticeably lower in comparison to the first floor. Sophia Garnica, Samuel Belon, James Reyna, Mia Villamayor, Deyra Ojeda and Alejandro Ortega were chatting in conference room 313, waiting to talk about their slate, Make it Happen.
Slates are formed by individual candidates under the decision to campaign as a group. They come up with names for themselves that reflect their mission.
While introducing themselves, The Make it Happen slate could not stop laughter from punctuating the formalities.
“I laugh when it’s too quiet, it’s awkward,” candidate for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ojeda said.
Her humorous personality embodies what makes this young slate-the majority of which are first-years-so accessible. In spite of their accomplishments to their communities, such as Ortega’s sociology research project, the group is down-to-earth.
“We want to be transparent,” Villamayor stated.
They do this by going to classrooms and sparking conversations with students about what A.S. is and what it does.
“We break down the $11 fee and tell students, ‘one dollar goes for student representation, 10 dollars goes to student activities,’” said Ortega.
In teaching students where their money is going and what it is being used for, they aim to achieve their primary initiative of being student-centered and student-focused.
“The PCC community is 60 percent Latinx, and our slate is majority Latinx,” said Reyna. “We have such a diverse group on this slate in terms of experience, financial means-everything.”
Circled around the table, sitting on several more chairs than the small conference room was designed to contain, each member chimes in without pause to contextualize the other’s explanations. It would have been impossible to guess that they had all met each other only a week prior.
Garnica balances not only her time consuming biology major, but also different groups on campus. She is the current treasurer and ICC representative of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), where she promotes diversity within the STEM community.
“Just the other day, I was a team leader for Tech Savvy, a girls STEM day on campus,” Garnica said of her other campus involvement. “I helped girls from elementary school and middle school to engage with the STEM field and find inspiration.”
As a member of the current ASPCC funding committee, Garnica presently works closely with the Executive Vice President, Dionne Shelton, and so is familiar with the role.
“Because the Science Village is on the other side of campus, I feel like not a lot of those students are aware of what’s going on,” Garnica said.
Garnica’s goals are all about keeping the atmosphere of PCC campus life alive and diverse.
Belon, a candidate for Vice President of Sustainability, said that his experiences travelling with volunteer organization AAP were eye opening.
“I interned with AAP [in Argentina], went from school to school telling the kids why water is important,” Belon said. “I would pour water from one water bottle into another, saying ‘look, we don’t have water, you are the generation who can make a change.’”
“I learned about the severity of this global issue, and I am inspired to continue the work PCC has done here to become a more sustainable campus,” Belon continued.
The Make it Happen slate is young, large and hopeful-not just about the election, but about the future of PCC in general.
Dionne Shelton, Alex Sarkissian and Ryan Tan comprise the Power within Diversity slate.
“Our initiative centers around three pillars: accountability, transparency and advocacy,” said Sarkissian, who is running for Student Trustee.
This slate is comparably more experienced than Make it Happen, and Sarkissian said they would be leveraging their experiences to successfully serve their student body, should they be elected.
“I would be a familiar face,” Sarkissian explained, which would make his relationships with administration and other Executive Board members more productive. “Also, I have a working relationship with [A.S. Executive Vice President] Dionne, so I would be able to get a lot of stuff done.”
Shelton, who is running uncontested for President of Associated Students, argued along similar lines.
“I have the advantage of having those relationships already,” Shelton said. “This makes it easier to get stuff done because more people are willing to work with me. The mission [of the ASPCC Executive Board] this year was to get students more involved. We’ve done that. I want to keep that momentum going.”
With Shelton’s three years of prior experience at PCC as Executive Vice President of ASPCC, ICC representative for and president of Fashion Club, she brings a critical perspective of a returning student that is hard to come by at community college.
Sarkissian talked about leveraging his PR experience as this closing year’s Vice President of Public Relations. It would bring a unique perspective to the ideas proposed at the Board of Trustees meetings.
“PR experience would help with effectively and consciously implementing great plans,” Sarkissian said.
“We want to show PCC that there is power within diversity not just in race but also gender and age,” said Tan, who is running for Vice President of Student Services. “Currently, we’re lacking in TLC…as VP for Student Services, I want to elevate on campus events, raise publicity for on-campus resources and [work on] outreach to satellite campuses and clubs.”
As president of Circle K, Tan would bring the experience of heavy extracurricular leadership and volunteering to his position.
Power within Diversity also finds its power in experience. Its members boast enough time between them to match or surpass that of most of the other slates. They look toward the next year with the trained eye of veterans honing their craft.
Unlike the candidates covered so far, political science major Lara Horhor is running independently for Vice President of Cultural Diversity. Horhor found that her experience in high school informed her interest in the ASPCC position.
“I am running for this position because I came from an all Armenian high school,” Horhor said. “Everyone was the same, there was no diversity. PCC is so different compared to that.”
Horhor hopes to grow ASPCC’s connections with various representative groups and clubs on campus.
“I want to make clubs like Queer Alliance and Third Wave comfortable to come to meetings,” she said.
Horhor joined the committee for cultural diversity during her first semester and liked it a lot.
“I can have larger influence with this [A.S.] position [than a club position],” Horhor said. “I can give more students a voice, rather than one group.”
Horhor hopes to bring a fresh experience to the position and energy to balancing diversity on PCC’s campus.
Elections are today, Wednesday, May 15 and tomorrow, May 16. Votes can be cast via Lancerpoint.
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