Meet your ASI candidate: Ricardo Perez


Ricardo Perez, candidate for ASI President. AJ Alvarado/The Runner

Tell us about yourself. Include your age, major and year in school.

I am a first-generation college student that has grown to be a strong, independent individual living in a diverse society. I study to noise in the background like reruns on Disney Channel, I get lost in a good video game for longer than what might be considered healthy, and I enjoy eating vegetables with my meals. I am 24 years old, have a fond appreciation for technology, and will be finishing the Political Science program with a concentration in American Politics next Spring. At the age of 19, I had to make the decision to leave my hometown in Arvin and fend for myself, with no choice but to find two jobs and continue my education by attending community college in Santa Monica. After working to save up to afford the cost of attendance, I returned to CSUB and have grown to integrate and appreciate the concept of being ‘made in the CSU.’

Why are you running for this position?

I am running for the position of ASI President because I will bring the sense of urgency required to operate our student government. I will allocate resources effectively in order to provide for the basic needs and interests of the students on our campus. I will also share the power of representation by appointing vacancies within the organization and among the various campus committees from among students in order to further promote our student voice. I am running because I will meaningfully promote positive and lasting change for the student body. I have clear goals, new experience, and a modest heart, and I am looking to put my energy in working for the student’s interests.

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?

The university operates in a complex realm of shared governance, and my keen understanding of it not only of our local process but also the processes of the system intensifies my commitment to better represent students and their interests.

First as an elected Board Member, I was able to provide perspective on the interests of students in the school of Arts and Humanities. I quickly integrated into the role of ASI Officer that year: I began the fall quarter with acquainting myself with students on campus, looking in their best interests. I initiated the process of applying for the Greenovation grant for a water filing station that would later become a larger scale project with my influence among the Board of Directors under Hilda’s Administration. It’s this kind of empowerment from the students that further endorsed my influence in advocating for longer library hours during Finals week – A pilot program that is now being considered for university budget allocations through my involvement with the Academic Senate. Now as an Executive Officer, I have gained more experience, critique, and influence in order to be a powerful voice at the state, local, system and federal levels representing the interests of CSUB students. I believe that this knowledge and experience with diplomacy has qualifies me to represent the interests of the students.
Describe for us your platform and vision for your position.

I want to further influence with my commitment to student success with developing more creativity with the decision-making process that affects our education — A more student-centered environment would only yield a more profound institution of learning. I envision my position as ASI President as a custodian for the organization by fulfilling the duties of ASI President outlined in the ASI By-laws. With energetic and proactive efforts, I will be the ASI President that aims to provide a policy agenda that assists in promoting the mission of the university.

Part of my platform is to truly develop a representative student government that captures the diverse voices from our student population. I will be sure that the Board of Directors can entertain questions and interests from all points of view, irrespective of my personal beliefs. Next, I will work for students to stay on campus in a healthy learning environment and help them witness an improved sense of community. I want to ensure that the minority that would occasionally be left in the dark is equally heard. It is the duty of ASI to represent all students on campus, and provide for an environment where all students can broaden their perspectives. Lastly, the more opportunities students have to work on campus, especially by virtue of high impact practices, the less likely the may be inclined to leave to find a part-time job in order to make ends meet. ASI can explore options to provide more of these opportunities for students, like creating a convenience store where revenue can be returned to students in the forms of scholarships, grants or services. I see this as a way of giving back for collecting fees from students.

Last year, roughly 25% of the student body voted in the ASI election. What will you do to gather feedback and perspectives from students who don’t vote?

We are living in world of high connectivity, where virtually any question can be answered within seconds. I will use multiple platforms of social media, optional text messages and emails, tabling at events, and open forums to address the needs of the students. These efforts will continue monthly, with correspondence from myself and any other officers wishing to participate, like the Director of ASI Relations as an informal press secretary. Through these methods and support from clubs and organizations, including the Runner Newspaper, we can combine forces to educate the masses about the happenings of the university. This must serve as preliminary foundation for ensuring and improving collaborations with the Student Media Center.

How will you differentiate yourself from your predecessor?

I will be more effective with the presidential powers and keep transparency as a priority. I find high value in being inclusive with varying levels of opinions, irrespective of my personal beliefs. I believe that the ASI President is required to listen, prescribe, and act on the issues and interests expressed by the student body, and with urgency. I don’t believe it is the duty of the ASI President to make important decisions without consulting the Board of Directors. I trust that I will greatly seek consultation from the Board of Directors regarding all matters rather than persist on creating a tradition of superiority. The executives may be the head of organization, setting the goals for the respective departments under which ASI operates; however, it is ultimately the Board of Directors that acts as an neck and directs the organization.

Of the student fee money that is paid to ASI, how do you think that fee money should be used?

When there are constraints with budgets, money needs to be spent wisely. The student fee money that is collected by ASI should directly provide for the basic needs and interests of the students. We need to use the revenue to improve the classroom experience with exploring updates in technology, more incentives to keep students on campus, and more initiatives to promote higher learning.

Students sometimes raise concerns about what they believe is a dead campus life. What plans do you have to help improve student life on campus?

The students on campus deserve an advocacy and servant government that holds unwavering passions for their best interests, like ensuring students have a reason to stay on campus. I want to advocate for an increase in high impact practices, in order for students to be able to apply, attain, and develop skills that are necessary for entering the workforce in California. Moreover, if we want more students to stay on campus, we need more choices. It can even start with opening the ASI offices as study rooms; we can be creative with our space for business. With a collection of ideas ranging from negotiating for taco/protein trucks to visit campus to creating an ASI General Market, I hope to find more creative ways originating from the ideas of students to reprioritize the use of space on campus.

During your potential time in office, you may have disagreements with some of your peers. How effectively do you feel you are at working with people who disagree with or dislike you?

As a first-generation college student and a minority who faces discrimination, I am able to think objectively. I find that as a servant leader, I would be able to listen to the diverse opinions of the students on campus, prescribe my influence with an objective approach and accept the decision of the majority. I do take notice when opinions conflict with my own, however, I have proven to responsibly remove my values from the conversation and ensure that the protection of students interests is at the forefront of decision-making. I believe there is a clear need for an ASI Judiciary or Public Defender to further create jurisprudence among decisions affecting students.

Why should we vote for you?

I am a creative, energetic, considerate and inquisitive student with the privilege of attending an institution of higher learning in the Central Valley. I will apply my experiences both in and out of the classroom towards my service as your ASI President. From my commitment in lobbying for the CSU as whole as the Vice President of External Affairs, I come to understand that my next step is to ensure and establish continuous improvements directly on my campus by pursuing diplomatic efforts with key stakeholders of the campus community. From academic studies to efficiency in the use of scarce resources, I will be a competent and practical leader in ensuring that the student interests at the heart of negotiations. Thoughtful decision-making, balanced attitude, and generous behavior is required among a group of leaders who officially represent the students on our campus: I bring all of this and more to the table. As a modest servant leader with a creative mind, an eagerness to learn and a compassionate heart, I am the best choice as your next ASI President.

What is your favorite movie?

Favorite movie is Billy Elliot. It is a movie about a young boy who secretly attends ballet lessons while he should have been at boxing lessons. His curiosity and eagerness to learn pulls him into a world that is contrary to his family values. The movie has inspired me to try new things, regardless of what the judgements or prejudices may arise.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to learn how to speak Arabic. I have always wanted to be able to communicate using this beautiful language, and be able to communicate with locals when I visit my friends in the Middle East. It’s a language that requires great discipline, and provides an intellectual challenge to truly comprehend. I would love to able to use it more!