ASWNMU is hosting their annual elections for student government positions and two students have placed their name on the ballot for the student body vice-president position.
Diego Luna De Leon is from Douglas, AZ. He will be a Senior in the fall semester and is seeking an Accounting degree.
Aja Corina Sanchez is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sanchez is a Sophomore, double majoring in Nursing and Psychology.
The Mustang Newspaper interviewed the two candidates to get to know them better and learn how their leadership will positively affect the school.
Q: What led you to become interested in becoming a member of ASWNMU?
Luna: What interested me in becoming a member of ASWNMU was becoming part of the executive board to take up the responsibility and to challenge me to be a leader. This will help me by giving me hands-on experience and instilling great leadership skills. I also want to make a change in how WNMU students view and think about ASWNMU.
Sanchez: I knew that joining ASWNMU would give me a platform to do what I love, which is helping students. Before participating, the number of students I was able to help was small. Still, once I became a senator, I had so many more resources available to me to make a more significant impact.
Q: What is a problem that you have seen on campus that you want to fix?
Luna: A problem that I have seen on campus that made me apply for this position was the mentality students have about ASWNMU. How they do not think that the student government does not hear them. I know this is not the case, but this is how students feel. I want to fix this mentality and feel by changing their point of view on student government. I want to approach as many students and explain how ASWNMU works and explain to them how it is not as simple as they think to change a policy or any action that benefits them personally. I want students to understand how ASWNMU works and what it takes to make a change. This is what the problem is and how I see it. If students understand what it takes and how the process goes to make a change and impact their lives as a student, they will understand and change their view and how they think about ASWNMU.
Sanchez: I believe there is a lack of collaboration between clubs and organizations on campus. Many different groups at WNMU are working towards incredible goals and events for students; however, it often feels as if they are working against each other. If we were able to communicate and work together, it would benefit everyone on campus.
Q: How do you plan on getting students involved with your initiatives?
Luna: I will get students involved in my initiatives by being more visible and more transparent. The problem could be simple: maybe students do not know about all our school has to offer. As a college student, we want our info quick, concise, and easily digestible. I will keep my messages short, and you can bet students are more likely to remember it later. I will also promote my events and happenings on social media and create content that students want to share, retweet, like, and comment on. This will bring even more awareness to my initiatives over time.
Sanchez: The only way of understanding how to get the students involved is by asking them. I would love to be able to communicate with the students to see what they want to experience at WNMU and what days and times work best for them.
Q: How could you improve the power of student voices on campus?
Luna: I believe that in some cases, the voices of the powerful often silence those of the less powerful. I want to eradicate that on campus. As a vice president, I want to create a right and safe environment on campus for students. I want them to feel safe and make them understand that we are elected to help them and make a change for them as a real democracy. I want to encourage students to embrace diversity and work toward justice with clarity and courage on their terms and as a community. I want to create spaces within which students and ASWNMU members speak, listen, and learn in new, more democratic ways.
Sanchez: In the past, student government has stated that they are open to hearing the students’ needs and concerns; however, I believe instead of making the students come to us, we should make more of an effort to go to them. It is sporadic that you see an ASWNMU member at student events. This bothers me greatly because not only is it our job to support the students, but this is also where we would be able to interact the most with large amounts of the student body.
Q: What does student partnership mean to you?
Luna: To me, student partnership means the practice of students having a joint say with their educational institution on the quality of the education provided. A partnership is about respecting and valuing the strengths of each collaborating party, agreeing upon mutual priorities, communicating effectively, and working together to reach a common goal. As the Vice-President of ASWNMU, I will challenge myself to accomplish everything that I stated above.
Sanchez: Student partnership means everything to me because without the students, there would be no Western New Mexico University. It is crucial the students understand that they have the power, and any changes they want to see should never feel impossible.
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.