CCSGA Candidate Statements

For Colorado College students, election season isn’t over just yet. Today is the student election for two CCSGA positions. For Vice President of Internal Affairs, there is a three-way battle between Christina Garcia, Norberto Orellana, and Victor Torres. The VP of Internal Affairs is the chair of the Internal Affairs Committee and manages the CCSGA election process, among other duties. For Vice President of Student Life, Steven Ortega and Mateo Parson face off. The primary duty for the VP of Student Life is to chair the Student Life committee. Voting closes at 6 p.m. today.

Mateo Parsons. Photo courtesy of Mateo Parsons
Mateo Parsons. Photo courtesy of Mateo Parsons

MATEO PARSONS: First-year candidate for VP of Student Life

The primary focus of student life ought to be inclusion. As Vice President of Student Life, I will ensure that a diverse array of student perspectives on all issues facing students at Colorado College are consulted and considered in the development of student life policy and in the measures that the executive and full councils pass. We must remain dedicated to our student body, and the best way to promote inclusion in doing this is by “leading by following.” That is—we must first understand what it is the students who elect us need before we can advocate for those policies. Getting a real understanding of what students need by discussing issues with them on a person-to-person level, then taking those concerns to the executive and full councils is the best means to promote and facilitate inclusion within all of CCSGA.

I wish to run for Executive Council because despite the significant stride made in the past few years, I still feel that there is a metaphorical wall separating CCSGA and the students its officers are elected by, and to serve. By serving in the role of VP of Student Affairs, it is my hope to usher in a new era of inclusion and integration by directly involving the student body in their student government. Facilitating a more deliberative process ensures all student voices are heard and that all areas in which there exists a need for reform are identified and addressed. This is our community—we live here ten months out of the year, I want our student body to take ownership of that and make it the best it can be for all students at Colorado College.

I believe that the first step in ensuring this campus serves our community as best as it possibly can is ushering in a more deliberative process of governance in which all student voices and concerns are heard. The first initiative I wish to accomplish in my year on executive council is introducing an amendment to the bylaws of CCSGA allowing students to petition and directly address the Student Life Committee via a process similar to that of citizen congressional hearings. Along with this, I hope to establish a new grassroots subcommittee (perhaps called the ‘Student Voices’ subcommittee) composed of CC students charged with holding open forums and directly contacting students. This committee will then report their findings to the Student Life Committee and the Full Council in the interest of introducing legislation to address the concerns voiced by the student body. This will be paired with greater general visibility and approachability on the part of the VP of Student Life and Student Life Committee members—by taking legislative steps to open direct lines of communication with the student body along with physical steps to make CCSGA Student Life Committee members more visible and approachable on campus, we will initiate the tangible change that this campus so desperately needs.

Steven Ortega. Photo by Maya Littlejohn, courtesy of CCSGA
Steven Ortega. Photo by Maya Littlejohn, courtesy of CCSGA

STEVEN ORTEGA, Junior candidate for VP of Student Life

My experience in CCSGA has convinced me that promoting inclusion must be a central goal of any member of student government. To date, I have worked to improve our organization’s inclusivity tangibly by sponsoring legislation that expanded the number of Heads of State Representatives on student government and gave them a full vote, allowing more meaningful representation of the interests of marginalized students. Moving forward, I will build on this earlier work by passing a constitutional amendment creating an Inclusion Committee, which would have the resources to durably enhance our ability to promote inclusion in CCSGA and across campus.

I’m running for Vice President of Student Life a third time because I believe in the progress CCSGA has made this year, and know I can help ensure a smooth transition next year. At a time when members of our campus community are still faced with efforts to delegitimize their presence here, I will utilize this position to affirm the dignity of marginalized students, such as by giving survivors of sexual assault more choice in the Title IX reporting process. I also seek to utilize my experience to efficiently manage the student group chartership renewal process, and our GiveLeave charitable drive benefitting American-Indian reservations.

Beyond establishing an Inclusion Committee, improving CC’s Title IX response, streamlining the chartership process, and facilitating GiveLeave, I also have several other goals for next year. First, I will institutionalize our “CC Votes” initiative by creating a voter registration “blueprint” to ensure straightforward access to the ballot for future students. Next, I will ensure the mental health response survey I helped create is implemented, and that its results inform more supportive college policy towards mental health. Lastly, I will advance the modernization of CCSGA by initiating a formal review of our Constitution to ensure it comports with best practices.

Victor Torres. Photo courtesy of Victor Torres
Victor Torres. Photo courtesy of Victor Torres

VICTOR TORRES, Junior candidate for VP of Internal Affairs

If I become a member of the executive council, my hope would be to use my position to interact with more student groups on campus and support them as much as possible. I plan to connect with other members of the Colorado College community and be able to inform the student body of the happenings within CCSGA. As well as being a face of CCSGA, I would be able to act as a liaison between students who have concerns for CCSGA and would like to further discuss with a member who is available.

The Executive Council has the role of overseeing many committees, the planning and implementation of events, and the communication and support of the student body. I believe that I can be useful to CCSGA in further connecting with the student body, clearly communicating not only what is taking place within CCSGA but announcing events, and being a present face that works hard in informing the students of the latest details concerning our school. I appreciate what CC has to offer and I feel that in the executive council I will be crucial to its development and future success.

My first action is to create more advertisement for the events that CCSGA is supporting, specifically informing students that CCSGA does quite a lot at the school and is in critical need of support from the student body. I would like to put up a new bulletin board every two blocks displaying the members of CCSGA and containing announcements surrounding upcoming events. I would also like to make myself available for students to meet with me whether that is to discuss issues or insights they may have for CCSGA.

Norberto Orellana. Photo by Phillip Engh
Norberto Orellana. Photo by Phillip Engh

NORBERTO ORELLANA, First-year candidate for VP of Internal Affairs

I will promote inclusivity first and foremost by listening and reaching out to all the students on campus. There are things we don’t understand, struggles that we must recognize. It takes courage to stand up and speak, but it also takes courage to sit down and listen. I will not allow this to bring about the issue of tokenism, because it is not anyone’s job to educate us and represent an entire group. I will ensure that CCSGA and I are educated on the issues beforehand, so that when we respond and legislate we can do so appropriately and steadfast.

I want to run for executive council because I am dedicated to growing as a leader and as a legislator. I firmly believe that CCSGA can be an extremely powerful and influential body on campus and that there is a future where far more students are involved in governance and hold far more faith in CCSGA. Specifically, the internal affairs position of executive council interests me because IA is essentially the backbone of a good government. I want to lead, hold government accountable, make CCSGA stronger, and fight for inclusivity as a member of executive council.

I will ensure that the new CCSGA inclusion committee is passed and is truly the most effective it can be when it is, so that students of all backgrounds have a greater chance of getting involved in CCSGA and have a better outlet. I will introduce legislation to reform the way in which council members are elected and held accountable. I will give students the power to petition for a vote of no confidence to hold all members of student government accountable. I will create a system where students can petition the government. I will revitalize the image of CCSGA including continuing my work on the website and Facebook page.

CRISTINA GARCIA, Sophomore candidate for VP of Internal Affairs

I am interested in serving on Student Government because I want to be a voice for the people who aren’t heard. I want to learn and gain knowledge from CCSGA that I will be able to pass on to the student body, so they can make informed decisions and be a part of the community Colorado College is trying to create. I believe I can help our community grow together by listening to faculty and administration, students, and individual communities within our greater community. I know that I don’t have the solutions to everything, but I’m willing to listen to people to try and figure out a solution that represents everyone.

My number one strength is my dedication to this position. By being a former co-chair, I was able to develop my communications skills, my writing skills, and my familiarity with CC requirements in regards to paperwork and different resources available on campus. My weaknesses would be that I don’t have a strong background knowledge of everything that CCSGA does, and that my time management skills are still in progress.   

I work at Tutt Library and am actively involved with several Butler Center groups. I believe that these other commitments will be an asset because they are flexible and it gives me greater access to talk to people who may not always be asked for their opinions. This position would become a top priority for me.

To me, serving on Executive Council means being in a position of responsibility, and being in a position that will require much attention to detail. I want to help bridge the gap between CC students, faculty and administration, groups within our community, and CCSGA. I want to be able to help our community grow as one, and really represent the ideas of inclusivity and diversity that our college stands for.

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