Associated Students, Inc. elections are taking place this week at Cal State Long Beach, and presidential candidate Oscar Acevedo is hoping to change ASI into a united body of student advocates.
While working for the national community service organization AmeriCorps at the George Deukmejian courthouse in Long Beach, Acevedo discovered a passion for helping people in need.
“I was part of the JusticeCorps program where I gave free legal advice to community members who otherwise could not afford it,” Acevedo said. “I got used to empowering people and letting them know their rights. It is a great feeling to be an advocate for other people.”
In high school, Acevedo enjoyed watching a lot of presidential and activist speeches, but the inspiration to get involved in American politics originally came from his mother.
“When I grew up, my mother was a patriot,” Acevedo said. ”She always taught me the value of giving back to your country. I thought the best way to do that was either by enlisting military, or working with public service, which I ended up doing. That experience ultimately made me decide to become a political science major.”
When not working on his campaign, Acevedo likes traveling. Going to leadership conferences at other college campuses is an activity he said he finds particularly interesting.
“I think it gives an advantage to me as a candidate, because I will be able to compare how much other schools have changed,” Acevedo said. “I like to get into politics and explore as much as possible.”
For his campaign, Acevedo has decided to focus on transparency. He believes there is a bad connection between the student government and its community. Instead of giving students the opportunity to reach out to ASI, he wants ASI to reach out more to the students.
“We have to understand and listen to all the different opinions of the students,” said third year criminal justice major and Acevedo supporter Eduardo Marquev. “This does have a lot of impact on the future reference. I think it is important to make students aware that making your voice heard by ASI should be an opportunity for everyone.”
Student safety is also an important focus in Acevedo’s campaign. He argued that the current student government has not done enough with respect to the increased number of sexual assaults on campus.
“There have been a record number of sexual assaults this year, and those do not include the ones that are not being reported,” said second year recreational therapy major and supporter Bridgette Luckay. “I think it is completely alarming how negligent ASI is when it comes to protecting the safety of students.
“Oscar has previous experience from when he worked for the court,” Luckay said. “The combination of that with his passion for safety and assurance that students know their legal rights could make a great president.”
Reaching out to uninformed students has been a big part of Acevedo’s campaign. He said that after talking to hundreds of students, it concerns him that a big part of the student population is not aware of what ASI is.
Since CSULB is so diverse, he said he believes that this kind of disconnection is the reason why some groups of students might not be represented equally in ASI.
“Often you will find elected candidates, executives and even senators that only care about specific groups,” Acevedo said. “But we need to cut that out. We need to advocate for all of our students and use our diversity to our advantage by learning from each other. The people that will do what others are afraid to do are the true definition of patriots.”
ASI presidential elections began yesterday and the polls are open until tomorrow at midnight via a link sent to students’ email address on file with the university.
This article is part of a series on candidates running for ASI executive positions. Past articles can be found online at www.daily49er.wpengine.com.