Financial literacy is a huge issue for Associated Students Inc. Treasurer Candidate Reyalyn Villegas.
The treasurer hopeful defines a financial literate person as someone who is well-versed in money-facing decisions. Villegas aims to continue the efforts of current Treasurer Jesse Luna in establishing more finance workshops. To further take advantage of the university’s resources, Villegas wants to establish generalized webinars and free-of-cost summer trainings to allow more students to become financially literate. She also wants to increase the amount of scholarships for marginalized students.
“At the end of the day, they are students and their main priority is to pass their classes so that they can graduate,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to scramble for [financial] information that we, as a public university, have the resources to offer for them.”.
Villegas draws much from her advocacy experience from her position as chief government relations officer and lobbying efforts at the California Higher Education Student Summit. But her love for advocacy didn’t start in ASI. It started when she was young, where she first-hand experienced a difference in cultures when moving from the Philippines to the United States.
“In the future I hope to create a foundation that would serve the women and children of those third world countries and work for organizations like doctors without borders or UNICEF, any organization that is willing to advocate for the needs for those who are underrepresented,” she said.
But she’s starting small. As a STEM student, she wants to lobby for more transparency within student government. The current senior has been coming to the university for the past four years, but said she feels a disconnect between her college and student government.
“I’m in a college where most of the students didn’t even know elections were going on, [and didn’t know] that we have spring allocations, all these processes that they can benefit from,” Villegas said.
To combat this, Villegas wants to facilitate communication between the department and student government. As treasurer, she wants to get funding for ongoing research projects within STEM as well as make decision-making processes more transparent to the student body.
One priority for Villegas is to livestream all ASI meetings. While student senate meetings are livestreamed on Facebook, not all meetings are posted nor are they accessible to all students. She notes meeting times are inconsistent as well, with Lobby Corps having different meeting dates each semester.
“I think that’s really trying to bridge that gap between the student body and student government because not a lot of students know about all these committees within student government,” she said.