The Associated Students of Western New Mexico University elections begin April 20 with voting on Canvas.. This year, eleven WNMU students are running to fill 10 senate positions. The following are the candidates:
- Taylor Benavidez is a Sophomore majoring in Science Education with a certification in Life Science. Benavidez is from Deming, NM.
- Francisco J. Estrella is a Sophomore majoring in Psychology. He was born in Douglas, AZ, but considers Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, his hometown, which is where he grew up.
- Kianna Gomez is from Deming, NM. Gomez is a Sophomore majoring in Nursing.
- Anyssa Ann Maese is a Sophomore majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Criminal Psychology. Her hometown is Deming, NM.
- Fernando Isaias Martinez is a Sophomore studying Welding and Technology with a minor in Music. He is from El Paso, Texas.
- Richard Mubanga is a Sophomore. He is an international student from Zambia, Africa.
- Jenesa Mpiga-Tsiba is a Sophomore. She is aiming to achieve a Bachelor of Nursing. She is from Mechanicville, NY.
- Marco Ravelo is part of the WNMU Nursing Program. He was raised here in Silver City.
- Eduardo Trevizo is a Junior majoring in Secondary Education. His hometown is Deming, NM.
- Sophia Walker is a freshman. Walker will be majoring in Biology, and her hometown is El Paso, TX.
- Carlissa Zamora is a Sophomore majoring in Zoology. She is from Socorro, New Mexico.
The Mustang Newspaper had the opportunity to ask these students questions to get to know them and to obtain future visions from each one of them.
Q: What led you to become interested in becoming a member of ASWNMU?
Benavidez: Throughout high school, I was a part of my school’s student government program, and I enjoyed the work that we did around campus, the connections that I made with those that I met through these projects, and the enjoyment of being involved within the school. I look back on those memories and think that I could use those skills from my past experiences and become more involved within our campus. I want to be able to help students have more fun, get involved, as well as a better time here at WNMU.
Estrella: I got interested in joining ASWNMU to help make a difference on campus and in the experience every student has throughout their time at WNMU. This year I feel like I have been able to take huge steps towards raising ASWNMU closer to the real potential it has and would love to be able to keep working and making ASWNMU shine and be that leadership organization the campus needs.
Gomez: In high school, I was involved in student government, and I thought it was a great experience learning about what happens behind the scenes and to see and be involved with how everything gets done. I became interested in becoming a member of ASWNMU because I wanted to be involved in school and get a better understanding of the things that were happening around campus. I have always been interested in student government, and when I joined this past year, I had a great time learning about everything that goes on as well as helping people in school.
Maese: Throughout my schooling career, as a student, we have control over only the things that directly impact us. Choosing to do homework, attending class, studying, and participating. The school, or rather, those who help run the school, are the ones that determine what is taught, what is offered, how subjects are taught and approached, and what students have access to. However, by becoming part of the Associated Students of Western New Mexico University, I am helping bridge the gap between faculty and staff and the students that attend the University. I will help to ensure that students are getting the most of their experience here at Western New Mexico University, not only academically but also with the activities provided by the University as well as getting involved with giving back to our wonderful community. Being a part of ASWNMU allows me to both enjoy my college experience, further develop my professionalism, and get involved in my community, all while helping give students on campus a voice. In short, I have an interest in being a member of ASWNMU to become part of something bigger than myself.
Martinez: I want to be a member of ASWNMU because it gives me so many opportunities to make a change in addition to making me a part of something bigger than myself.
Mubanga: I like being part of the change, what led me to run for this position is my desire to make this campus a better place for all students.
Mpiga-Tsiba: During my sophomore year, I have genuinely enjoyed becoming more involved on campus and in the community by joining Mustangs Care and The National Society of Leadership and Success. It has taught me about being a leader and making a difference in our community. I am interested in becoming a member of ASWNMU to continue my personal and professional growth.
Ravelo: I was initially interested in the spring of last year when I decided to run for the year of 2019-2020 senator term. What led me to pursue this was the opportunity to represent my fellow nursing students as well as all the students at Western New Mexico University and being able to be the voice for them.
Trevizo: As a first-generation college student here at WNMU, I decided to seek activities that would contribute to a positive experience for me here on campus. As I slowly began to become acquainted with some of the organizations on campus, I noticed that student government was an entity looking to assist faculty, staff, and students. Based on this observation, I decided to reach out to attempt to make a difference.
Walker: As an incoming freshman, I want to immerse myself into a proactive organization that is all about helping the students. I want to take this opportunity to start college strong with a positive approach. ASWNMU is the perfect way to help the University thrive together as one, helping the voices of students be heard.
Zamora: I became interested in becoming a member of ASWNMU because I would like to represent the students of WNMU and help make our campus a safe and enjoyable place for students to have fun and learn while attending school.
Q: What is a problem that you have seen on campus that you want to fix?
Benavidez: A central problem that I see within our campus the lack of involvement within programs and events on campus.
Estrella: Student retention has been the biggest issue I have seen on campus due to the significant loss it can cause across all departments and every student attending. Student retention is a very complex issue that involves many factors such as campus hospitality, affordability, personal matters, class environments, amongst other factors. Despite being so complicated, I believe that ASWNMU has the responsibility to improve the college experience for all students, which in return can make students ponder more about dropping their education.
Gomez: A problem that I have seen on campus that I want to fix is that there are not that many events for the students to go to and get involved. I want to fix this by coming up with new ideas and maybe getting other programs involved.
Maese: As someone who is completing her freshman year of college, I can only speak on what I have noticed in my short time being here. With that being said, I feel that one aspect that the University can improve on is the orientation part of the students’ college career. We are provided with a comprehensive tour of the campus with brief presentations on what the University offers. After that, once the semester begins, we are on our own. It would be beneficial, comforting, and encouraging to incoming students if they were provided with more guidance as they continue adjusting to their new life as a college student. This could mean a mentoring program, more events put on by different groups on campus, or simply providing more in-depth tours and presentations on the University itself.
Martinez: One major problem that I continue to see here at WNMU is the retention of students. I want to combat the shortcoming by hosting events and giving students more to do here in Silver City so that they are more inclined to stay.
Mubanga: Student engagement has been the problem I have seen on campus.
Mpiga-Tsiba: One problem I have seen on campus is the cost of childcare. It is excellent that students receive a discount at the Child Development Center, but even with the discount, a parent would need to work full time on top of being a full-time student to afford the tuition fees.
Ravelo: When wanting to fix a problem on campus, I would not say necessarily fix, but improve instead. The campus does work well, even if it is not perfect. If that is the case, that is where we come in as ASWNMU and hear what needs to be improved in the eyes of the students. I plan to host more meetings and expanding what we do for students in means of service.
Trevizo: Given that I reside in Deming, I have attended WNMU’s main campus, our local branch, as well as participated in online instruction. One area of improvement that I have noticed pertains to a sense of homogeneity between establishments/mediums. I would give credence to the idea that the homologous aura that connects distinct locations could be improved. By focusing on this issue, the main campus may benefit by extending recruiting efforts and strategies as well as providing the Deming campus with the support that yields a more inclusive presence. In essence, the goal would be to improve the overall experience of students who may or may not have the ability to be present at WNMU’s main campus.
Walker: Coming from high school, an issue I often saw was a lack of involvement of the students. On the University campus, I can imagine there is some form of non-participation between the students.
Zamora: A problem that I would like to fix is students feeling as if they have nothing to do while on campus. I want to make WNMU a campus where students will have a memorable experience with their peers that they can keep with them for the rest of their lives.
Q: How do you plan on getting students involved with your initiatives?
Benavidez: I think that the best way to get students involved is by taking a small survey of what interests students, create an event that correlates with my initiative, and use my findings to get students eager to attend.
Estrella: Initiatives are essential for everyone ASWNMU desires to represent; however, students who are uninformed and uninterested will not engage. My main idea to get student involvement is to create as many events and provide as much support as possible for students. I want to bring back the student attitude I witnessed during my freshman year. Students were highly involved and participant in most activities, which is something I have seen decreasing. In conclusion, informing students, supporting them, and appealing to what students want is the most effective way of getting students involved.
Gomez: I plan on getting students involved with my initiatives by spreading the word in different places. Whether it be housing, the cafeteria, sports teams, etc., I also think if there is a prize at the end of the activity, more people will get involved.
Maese: I plan on getting student involvement with my initiatives by first ensuring that my efforts are known and heard throughout the campus. Marketing is a massive part of involvement, and with us being part of the technological generation, I would use that and social media outlets to spread the word about my initiatives. I would also use those platforms to get valuable information out to the student population. I would also use my role as a student to my benefit by using it to better structure my initiatives in a way that proves significant and relatable to the student population outside of just myself. In this sense, if my initiatives are something other students care about as well, then their involvement should be relatively easily obtained.
Martinez: My plan on getting students involved in my initiatives, through the word of mouth as well as social media. I also believe that reaching out to clubs and organizations under WNMU will help further engage students and keep them informed on what is going on around campus.
Mubanga: I plan on getting students involved by being their friends and listening to their ideas.
Mpiga-Tsiba: To get students involved in my initiatives, I would speak up, share my ideas, and show my passion.
Trevizo: To promote initiatives amongst students, I would be interested in obtaining their input toward issues they deem significant. I would first seek to get a general idea of what students are concerned about. Then, I would inform students that I would be working towards putting forth a solution to relevant issues. Through these efforts, I would attempt to educate students on how the school encourages participation and input. I would hope to improve involvement by offering a manner in which students can be active in the changes they wish to see.
Walker: I believe that positive reinforcement can encourage students to want to do better. Such as rewarding those who clean up the school, or show simple acts of kindness to others, volunteering, etc.
Zamora: To get students to be involved with my initiatives, I plan to make students aware of my initiatives and goals so that they will want to be involved. I think that having students that feel excited about my goals and initiatives for the campus will make them want to be more involved.
Q: How could you improve the power of student voices on campus?
Benavidez: To improve that student voice on campus, we need to find a way to get more students involved at meetings. As students begin attending, they will have a better understanding of the issues we are facing. The more students that are involved with our initiatives, the stronger our voice becomes.
Estrella: The best way to improve the voices of all students on campus is by collaborating as much as possible. Ten senators can only get to know so many students before we start leaving other students outside and abandoned. Students come from very diverse backgrounds, with diverse ideas, diverse beliefs, and with special needs. The more we connect with other departments across campus, the more likely we are to listen to all the students’ voices and be able to serve all of them better.
Gomez: I could improve the power of student voices on campus by engaging with a wide spread of people and making them feel comfortable to voice their opinion to me. I want the students to know that they can have a say on what is happening in the school. I want to reach out to people to hear their concerns and what we can do to help improve their college experience.
Maese: This ties into my reasoning for wanting to become a member of ASWNMU in the first place. Students have gone through their schooling, being a silent piece of a well-oiled machine. Still, now that we have all become adults in the sense that we have chosen to attend this University and get the most out of it to better our futures, it is crucial that we are treated accordingly, and that means being heard. The students need to be assured that their opinions, ideas, and concerns are not only necessary but that they are understood and heard. If we begin making changes and improvements to the University and the way it works based on what student voices are telling us, then the students will start to see just how powerful their voices are. This can be accomplished by merely inviting more students to faculty and staff meetings where student input is helpful, including students in changes being made to the University, or getting their opinions on what could be improved. It is all about involvement and working together with the students instead of two separate entities: The University and the student body.
Martinez: I feel we can give the students voice more power if we open more lines of communication. Whether it be Instagram DM’s or searching through Twitter feeds, as well as asking for more feedback from students, so we can better understand the concerns of students and give them a voice.
Mubanga: I can work with platforms like the Mustang Newspaper, Mustang Entertainment, and others to hear their initiatives and engage in campus programs.
Mpiga-Tsiba: I could improve the power of student voices on campus by listening to what my peers have to say and sharing their ideas, thoughts, and opinions.
Ravelo: Improvement in a voice always comes in numbers, and so does change. To have power in our voice as students of the University, I will encourage and support those that want the best for our Mustang Family.
Trevizo: I would correlate student voices with accessibility. I believe that by actively seeking input from the students, ASWNMU can minimize the gap between input and potential action. By focusing on becoming accessible, student government can make the most of the contribution that is shared by students.
Walker: I believe by creating more opportunities for students to participate in school activities, we can improve the voices of students on campus. Getting to know the students one on one through activities can build trust between the University and its students.
Zamora: To improve the power of student voices on campus, I want to get input and ideas from the students and apply them to the WNMU campus. I think that this will make students feel that when they speak up, it makes a difference and will encourage other students to input their ideas and what they want to see on campus.
Q: What does student partnership mean to you?
Benavidez: Student partnership is the teaming up of students and staff to make WNMU a better place for all. By having the opinions of both sides, we will have an easier time making decisions for the whole that can fit almost all needs.
Estrella: A partnership is when people can work together and accomplish magnificent and long-lasting improvements—and that means everything to me. The partnership is what differentiates excellent accomplishments from amazingly terrible failures. As stated in most of my responses, collaboration is key to creating the change many students need. Rather than putting the blame on other entities around campus and dividing us, we shall step over the division and accept that no one is perfect. We must admit that despite our differences, we are all here to work for a common goal—the improvement of every student and the University.
Gomez: Student partnership, to me, means that students, faculty, and staff work together to bring a better learning experience and a better environment for everyone on campus. This can happen by individuals working together and having a say on what is happening. Everyone should always feel like they have a voice in the changes being made, and if they want to add something that can help others.
Maese: Student partnership, in my opinion, is the critical factor in making a better, brighter, more successful University for future students. Without the University involving students and listening to those students’ wants and needs, then the University will never grow in a way that benefits their target audience. We need to work together with faculty and staff if we want our University to continue to provide students with every tool and means required for success and needed to make it to graduation day. We want students to look back at their college experience as the best thing they have done to date. It is only through student partnerships that this can be achieved.
Martinez: I believe student partnership is a give and take the relationship between us and the students where we take the feedback, they give us and give them a voice to promote change in the University.
Mubanga: For me, I see it as creating a community where students are just as crucial in making decisions as do the ASWNMU students. It means they have the same say in issues and participation.
Mpiga-Tsiba: To me, student partnership means that students work together to achieve mutual goals.
Ravelo: When I think of student partnership, it means that neither one is above the other, and we are all working towards a common goal, and that is to provide the best experience possible at Western New Mexico University.
Trevizo: When thinking of student partnership, I picture an always busy academic ecosystem. When applying that image to WNMU’s campus, I would envision a board of students who are consistently deliberating on ideas brought forth by vast amounts of faculty, staff, and students. I believe that student partnership entails consistent academic exchanges that lead to positive outcomes.
Walker: Student partnership is vital to me because it is where students have a voice on how their education takes shape and how the University puts their opinions and values into action.
Zamora: To me, student partnership means that all students work with each other and work with the faculty and staff to create a better and more exciting campus for everyone.
ASWNMU elections will take place April 20-24 through Canvas. For more information, visit http://aswnmu.wnmu.edu.