Mayor Robert Garcia guest spoke at the Student Communication Association, Tuesday night in the Hall of Science where he shared Long Beach State’s role in his journey to becoming mayor.
Garcia was born in Lima, Peru, and immigrated with his family to California when he was 6 years old. He was a first-generation college student and knew that CSULB was the school for him.
“I knew nothing about college, but I knew I loved Cal State Long Beach,” Garcia said.
Garcia joined a fraternity his freshman year, and he said that was when his natural leadership skills took over.
“I realized I kinda liked this leadership thing,” Garcia said.
As a part of student leadership, the SCA strives to provide an environment of learning and development “to advance academic, social and professional objectives,” according to its website.
Grant Gordon, president of SCA and senior communication studies major, said that the club’s main goal is to help students in the department develop connections between the classroom and the outside world.
“Our goal is to match the student with a job,” Gordon said.
As a graduate of the communications studies department, Garcia said that the degree is relevant and flexible.
“My experience from the university was incorporated into my campaign,” Garcia said.
Director of public relations for SCA, Angela Rodriguez, a senior communication studies major, said that the club hopes to continue their outreach and community building efforts by hosting more speakers.
“We want to build a community at a commuter school,” Rodriguez said.
Garcia first began his political career when he moved to Long Beach. Living in downtown, he saw the opportunities for improvement in his local community.
“I felt myself returning to what I had learned in college,” Garcia said.
The mayor expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be a leader of a city that he loves so much. He also shared his vision for developing more affordable housing in the city to combat the issue of homelessness, which he cited as Long Beach’s biggest hurdle at the moment.
Although a proud graduate of CSULB, Garcia said that his passion and drive were not things he learned in the classroom, but throughout his childhood as an undocumented immigrant.
“The biggest part of me is being an immigrant,” Garcia said.