That time of the semester has arrived where student leaders run for Student Government positions for the upcoming school year. This year, three WNMU students are running to be President of the Associated Students (ASWNMU).
Darlene Chavez is from Deming, New Mexico. She is currently a Senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies which she expects to complete in May. She will be returning in the fall to complete an Alternative Licensure as well as a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Briana Garcia is from Silver City, NM. She is a Junior majoring in Accounting and Business Management.
Brenda Hernandez Gonzalez was Born in Toluca, Mexico, and raised in California. She is a Senior, majoring in Kinesiology with a minor in Marketing.
The Mustang Newspaper had the opportunity to ask the three candidates questions to have better insights on each one of them and help students learn about their leadership positions.
Q: What led you to be interested in becoming a member of ASWNMU?
Chavez: When I was a freshman at WNMU, I found out about the leadership opportunity of ASWNMU. I ran as a senator and was voted in for my sophomore year. Since then, I have found a deep interest and respect in bettering the university in all capacities for the students and being a voice for my peers as the current Student President.
Garcia: I first became interested in ASWNMU during my sophomore year. At that time, I had a mentor that believed in what I stood for and my work ethic. After learning about the number of things that could be accomplished and the ability to be a voice for all, I wanted to take a stand. ASWNMU is one of the few ways the students get heard directly.
Hernandez: Being part of the student government committee for two years, has given me the experience and interest in what goes on on our campus. Also, I have improved my social skills like confidence, listening, communicating, and willingness to serve the students. I want to continue to be part of this great process to strengthen the channel of communication between the university and the student community.
Q: What is a problem that you have seen on campus that you want to fix?
Chavez: A campus problem that I have seen and would want to fix is the disconnect among campus departments with a focus on those that promote a healthy experience for students on campus. There are great things that happen across campus, but coming together would unite the forces and create an amazing experience for all Mustangs.
Garcia: Student involvement is one of the main problems that I want to work on. From the first year I attended Western to current time, I have seen a drastic change in the participation of students. Without students actively participating, it is hard to get a grasp on what they want to see ASWNMU do for them.
Hernandez: The union of students and the university has decreased in the last couple of years. This problem will need to change to ensure its betterment for current and future students. The goal is to improve their college experience and create endless memories at Western New Mexico University.
Q: How do you plan on getting students involved with your initiatives?
Chavez: I plan to get students involved with my initiatives by guiding them to become the leader that we all have within. My greatest philosophy as a student leader is that we are here to guide and lead our students so that they grow to become greater leaders than ourselves. As an educator, if your student surpasses your capabilities, then you’ve done your job right.
Garcia: I want to get students involved by providing incentives. Students are more enticed to join or do something when they benefit from it. The incentives may help them directly, such as meals, SWAG, or electronics, or they could benefit them indirectly in ways such as providing mental health checks, community service, or a platform to showcase their abilities.
Hernandez: Communication is essential to get students involved with any initiatives. Student government has the opportunity to be a bridge with specific departments to increase Mustang pride. Furthermore, encourage students to participate in fun activities to build strong relationships with their mentors and peers.
Q: How could you improve the power of student voices on campus?
Chavez: By allowing the students to channel their inner leader, we nurture them to voice their concerns as students at WNMU. I encourage this by letting the students know of their importance as individuals and the bigger role that they play as part of the Mustang Family, whether in person, online or at a distance.
Garcia: Improving the power of student voices on campus would need to be an initiative from ASWNMU as a whole. This would not come only from senate speaking to their students, but from all officers and senators speaking to as many students as they can. The more students that we can reach together, the better chance we have at giving them the voice and support that they deserve from their student leaders.
Hernandez: Students’ opinions, insights, and experiences are precious to create an engaging campus. They are not just spoken but heard, considered, and are integrated into decisions. Establishing trust, communication, and respect can significantly impact an ongoing and sustainable student involvement.
Q: What does student partnership mean to you?
Chavez: Student partnership means that we not only work for the students but also cater to their needs. A partner is somebody that we can trust while building each other up. It is our job as leaders to partner with the students to build the trust and give them all the tools necessary to achieve our end goal, a degree successfully.
Garcia: Student partnership means building the bridge between ASWNMU and the students. This means that ASWNMU would allow the students to bring events and ideas and see them executed. This would allow for collaboration with not only departments but with student-run organizations and clubs as well.
Hernandez: Student partnership is to create ties within the administration and the students. It involves encouraging them to become aware of how the university operates and to identify needs constructively. Lastly, to recognize the immense value and insight that our student community can offer.
ASWNMU elections will take place April 20 -24 and voting will be available through Canvas. For more information about student government, visit http://aswnmu.wnmu.edu.