Long Beach State’s Associated Students, Inc. hosted a virtual forum last Wednesday to introduce 12 nominees for the 2021 student government elections.
ASI President: Jesus Gonzalez, Shayan Hashemi
Vice President: Lindsay Apaza
Senator at-large: Anthony Regina, Karen Galindo
Senator for the College of Business: Jose Raya Perez, Aquila Jacquette, Martin Pelayo
Senator for the College of Liberal Arts: Millaray Ramirez, Salvador Peregrina
Senator for the College of Education: Shelbi Felter
University Student Union Board of Trustees, Trustee at-large: Mitali Jain
Helen Rodriguez, ASI government elections officer, hosted the forum and asked candidates a slew of questions surrounding challenges they face, their ambitions and who they would have dinner with from the past.
Of the candidates, three will be running for reelection: Salvador Peregrina, Millaray Ramirez and Jesus Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, who is currently the senator at-large, is running for ASI president. When asked about what it means to represent students in CSULB, he highlighted diversity as his mantra.
“I’m trying to advocate to match the student population and the administration population as much as I can. In addition to that, diversity comes with different backgrounds,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez’s sentiments were echoed among other candidates in their opening statements, who all emphasized the importance of diversity.
Ramirez, who is running for senator for College of Liberal Arts, mentioned that the nominees hosted an Instagram live event to engage with students and spread awareness about ASI programs.
“On Instagram we created like a whole week dedicated to us,” Ramirez said. “We were able to ask questions to the students like ‘hey how can we help you, how can you help us,’ [for them to] like, get to know us.”
Gonzalez discussed the Butterfly Peer Mentorship, which is an ASI-run program that helps undocumented students receive assistance through grant money.
“In that program, it honestly allows students who are freshmen and transfer students to receive the assistance from, not just administrators, but the students who have experience being on campus, virtually and in person,” Gonzalez said. “It allows me to give them hope that there’s going to be one day when we can go back on campus.”
The moderator then shifted to ask candidates about their dream dinner guests.
“I think it’d be probably Winston Churchill, you know, I just really admire that guy,” said Hashemi, who is a candidate for ASI president.
Jain, who is running for USU Board of Trustees, trustee at-large, said she would invite Vice President Kamala Harris to dinner.
“I would really like to ask her what kept her going to be the vice president in a male-dominated world, like she didn’t give up,” Jain said.
To close out the event, the candidates were asked to share what inspires them to stay motivated.
Pelayo, who is running for senator for the College of Business, said he feels inspiration from his friend, who had faced housing insecurity.
“I know one of my closest friends, when he turned 18, he moved out and was literally homeless, just always in his car, trying to go to school, try and make the best out of his life,” Pelayo said. “Right now he has three businesses. So, I think the question that I always think about is like, ‘if he could do that under the circumstances, how come I can’t do more.'”
Rodriguez then asked candidates what legacy they hope to leave behind if elected.
Perez, a candidate for senator for the College of Business, said he hopes to “help empower students” during his time at the Beach.
“I wouldn’t like to leave an open legacy, I want to help people leave legacies and people to walk out and say, ‘Yeah, I graduated from Cal State Long Beach,'” Perez said.
The ASI presidential debate will be held via Zoom on March 11 from 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.