ASI candidates make their intentions clear at open forum

Ernesto Leon, Editor-in-Chief

Canva Graphic by Haydee Barahona / The Runner

Candidates for Associated Students Inc. election made their intentions clear on what they want to change for the upcoming board in the 2023-24 school year at the open forum hosted through zoom on March 27 moderated by Jason Watkins, director of basic needs. 

The forum provided the opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves to the students they want to represent. Half of the forum focused primarily on those running for executive positions such as president and vice presidents, and the other half allowed those running for director positions the chance to introduce themselves as well.  

 The candidates running for ASI President are Daisy Alamillo and Jacob Roper who both have previous experience being on ASI: Daisy is the vice president of university affairs, and Jacob is the director of NSME (Natural Sciences, Math, and Engineering).  

 “I want our campus centered around inclusivity. We are a Hispanic-serving institution, so we are minorities in a majority school. I want to support our students in all forms,” said Alamillo. 

Alamillo also opened up about her background as a first-generation student and Latina herself, which will help her connect to the campus demographics.  

Roper said that his leadership would revolve around being inclusive and making sure that fellow directors know that they are included in the conversations, which is a point he repeated often. He highly emphasized that he wants transparency with students, which is an area that Roper believed the previous board that Alamillo sat on lacked in. 

 “I think the current board is agreeable to what the exec’s (executives) say… A lot of directors feel like they’re just going along with what the execs want, rather than being open about how they feel about certain things and topics and that they will be outcast, and I’ve seen it personally,” said Roper.  

 Another candidate who opened up about issues with the previous executive board was Christian Burgara, who’s running for executive vice president. Burgara , throughout the forum, also said he isn’t afraid to call out the previous board’s fiascos, one of which Roper said was holding closed meetings and not inviting directors to be part of them.  

 Burgara is a graduate student working on getting his teaching credentials, and currently working as a substitute teacher. He says he will bring this experience into ASI, as part of the responsibility of the executive vice president is to handle internal affairs within the board.  

 “I would like to change the office culture of ASI. I know I haven’t been in ASI for very long, however, it doesn’t take anyone very long to realize that there is a problem given previous fiascos that have happened in the past… I believe ASI should be a team. Directors, justices, and executives’ opinions should be taken into account,” said Burgara.  

 Running against Burgara is Ignasio Castillo, the current vice president of legislative affairs. Castillo has four years of previous experience in positions of leadership and has sat on many boards that have tackled equity gaps, academic integrity, and diversity and inclusion. Castillo is running with these past experiences on his belt and said that his biggest goal is student connectivity.  

 “It speaks volumes when we bring our student’s stories and experiences and why they come to CSUB in the first place to the decision-making table… My biggest goal is connecting the students to our senior administration, and letting them know that there is a sense of shared governance,” said Castillo.  

 Candidates running for vice president of finance are Simranjeet Kaur, Coby Nguyen, and Kayla Medina, with Medina not showing up to the forum.   

 Kaur said that she is running for this position because of her background in finance being a business administration major who has excelled in her classes. She is also an international student and doesn’t get the opportunity to work outside of campus, and this position is a chance for her to build work experience.  

 Nguyen also explained his qualifications being his understanding of analyzing budgets, expense control, and money management. He wants to make sure that the students know that he is ready to be a committed member and to budget, all the money coming into ASI, as well as out.  

 Running for vice president of legislative affairs are Taylor Thomas and James Tompkins.  

Thomas explained that she can relate to students and understand a lot of the struggles they can go through such as mental health and obtaining basic needs. She opened up about a time when she was homeless, not knowing when her next meal will be, and she wants to create change that will help students that are and will ever be put in that situation.  

 Tompkins also highlighted mental health as the biggest struggle students face and understands that it’s not easy to juggle family, work, relationships, and school all at once. He wants to create more events revolving around mental health that can help destigmatize the topic.  

 Running for Director of Student Support are Karen Navarro and Sarah Varela.  

 Navarro said that she is a low-income student and understands that it’s a struggle to go through college with limited resources. She said that she wants to connect students to the resources available at CSUB that have benefited her.  

 Navarro spoke about a project she would like to accomplish if elected, which would be a hygiene refill station. Students would be able to bring their own containers and fill them with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, which she said can be very resourceful in reducing costs in students’ wallets and maximizing resources at the university.  

 Varela said that she is running for Director of Student Support because she understands that students’ mental, physical, and basic needs are essential for student success. She wants to make sure students can worry about their coursework, and not about housing, finding formula, or even feeling alone. She explains that CSUB has an abundance of resources that she can help her peers navigate.  

 Voting ends March 30 at 11:59 p.m., This is the chance for students to make their decision on who gets to represent them in the following school year