At age 42, Robert Martinez isn’t your average student. When the College of Business Administration Associated Students Inc. Senator isn’t overseeing the business end of his family’s hair salon or playing catch with his two sons, he’s hard at work making sure the needs of CBA students are being met.
Martinez will be the first in his family to graduate college in the spring, with a degree in marketing. The Daily 49er sat down with Martinez in a snug, local cafe, packed with people and pets enjoying the sunny morning to talk about the importance of student representation and the plans he wants to implement in the future at LBSU.
What inspired you to run for a senator position with ASI?
There’s a lot of things I didn’t have on my radar, and this whole experience for me, obviously I’m a lot older than the other senators and other students, so a lot of it for me was … kind of figuring out who I am still, like maybe career-wise, work-wise I know who I am, but kind of expanding who I am. Things that I felt like were there that I wanted to do, which a lot of it was helping other people. I never knew how to help other people, and I got involved in an organization, which was … Hispanic Students Business Association. I kind of got involved in that as a member, then I became a director and they do community stuff, they do workshops to help the students and kind of see that support, it kind of started opening me up a little bit. Then one of our other directors, [Erika Paz] was the previous CBA senator and she had come to me toward the end of last semester and said, “Hey Robert I think this would be good for you.” They gave me a brief summary on what the position consisted of and I was like, “Well okay, you’ve got my interest, tell me a little bit more, I’d like to hear some more.”
So what is the process like when you’re when you’re running for ASI senator?
So the way that works, I think, every college might be a little bit different. So we have our at-large senators and they go through like a school wide election. So when those times come up during the school year, at-large senators run and the student body votes for college senators for [the] College of Business. As I said as the year ended, there was one opening and the College of Business opens it up. The College of Business has … a window of time to recommend a senator to ASI. That’s kind of how it worked for me is, there is, I believe three or four of us that were going for the position. So we had to apply and then make a little short speech presentation to the college counsel.
How do you plan on making communication across campus better?
One of the things I brought up recently, we actually had like a discussion with the Forum for the College of Business. This is with the dean and the associate dean; we had our council president and senators and then invited some students. One of the ideas I had, that the dean and the other two that were there really liked, is creating a custom profile for each student. What are you interested in, what do you want to hear about? So as you go and you build your profile, I say “okay I want to hear about this.”
There may be a couple of things that are going to get pushed to you regardless of your place, like Beach 2030 — that’s going to be close to you no matter what. But all the other things, like mental health, there’s some things on campus some people don’t know about, that the people just aren’t aware of. And I don’t think the school, again, communicates that well enough.
So if you’re able to go in and create a custom profile, what’s relevant to me, what do I want to hear about? Let me click on that. How do I want to hear about it? Send it to my email, figure out a platform. I think in today’s world people want to decide how they want to get that information, what they want to hear. They don’t want to feel overwhelmed by all this stuff that they don’t want to hear about. The school … [doesn’t] seem to be all in on any type of platform. I know BeachSync was the talk, but that’s kind of faded away or they’re redoing it. They kinda had some stumbles on the redesign [of the site] and so that kind of needs to be the first thing is, ‘Hey, how are we going to do this?’ There needs to be some agreement. Kind of getting back to the same thing, I think you always need to talk to students, faculty — tenure or administration. Upper administration can have ideas but in the end you have to talk to students. Even as a student, again I’m not going to have all the answers, I need to talk to other students. So you just need to get more data, try to get as much data as you can.
Are there any bigger scale issues that have been brought to your attention?
Right now we’re trying to [collaborate] with some of our other senators in awareness of Beach Pantry and awareness to the College of Business to generate more food donations to the beach pantry.
What kind of food are you looking for?
The [Beach Pantry] has certain criteria … on what they can accept. I think they’re in the process of getting the freezers or refrigerators for perishables, but right now it’s non-perishables. So that’s something that has been on our list from the very beginning.
How long has the Beach Pantry initiative been on the agenda for ASI?
It’s definitely been on our list since the semester started. We kind of held back a little bit because the school, ASI as a whole, is working on a campuswide initiative, but it looks like that’s still a little bit away and we don’t want to wait any longer. So it’s something where we’re going to start it in the next week, probably when we get back to school. So yeah, that’s a real push they want to make, so that might create some competition between colleges and who’s donated the most food.
Has this Beach Pantry competition been announced?
I think right now it might be a little bit under the rug, but I think within a couple of months when they come up with the campuswide initiative then it’ll be the whole school. So at least we kind of start getting rolling here and when that launches [it] will be able to get going.