By Alejandra Carrillo
Dedicated, straight-forward and a people person, is what East Los Angeles College newest Associated Student Union president, Jennifer Estrada, describes herself as.
Though her presidential term officially begins July 1, she is still involved with students, serving as Chief Delegate. In this position she oversees the clubs on campus as well as the vice president and proposals for any ASU meetings. Recently she served as a judge on a talent show, between the Vision Club and the Psych Club. Her dedication to helping the campus does not stop there, and she has many plans for the future.
Estrada said she was in disbelief when ASU’s current vice president delivered the news that she was elected new president. She said she was in a complete state of shock. She also said she felt anxious and nervous, yet very accomplished. “Some of my opponents were giving out churros, but I was broke. I have a lemon tree in my backyard. So I said ‘when you have lemons, you make lemonade,’ and that’s what I did. I made lemonade,” Estrada said.
Estrada, who is a 24 year old Lynwood native, began her career at the South Gate Learning Center two years ago, when she became an active member of the MeCHA club. Interested in Chicano studies, she joined MeCHA in hopes of learning more about her culture. Little did she know that joining the group would open more opportunities for her. She quickly picked up on how the club ran and became the president of MeCHA.
Estrada became passionate about MeCHA. She wanted to learn more about other clubs. That is what led her to become a member of the ASU. After being sent to ELAC’s main campus, due to the lack of classes available at South Gate, she realized there are more opportunities for students and wanted to extend them to South Gate students. She became dedicated about this, and started a club predominantly for South Gate students called South Gate Leadership. Estrada said, “I have many more ideas about clubs. I’d like to make one about ethnics and politics.”
She would also like to thank her friend, Jesse Orellana, who helped accomplish the idea of letting South Gate students rent math books instead of buying them. “Some students have other things to pay, like rent. I don’t like the fact that they have to choose between buying a book they might not use or paying rent,” Estrada said.
She said that the South Gate Learning Center has helped her accomplish so much that her ultimate goal is to give back to them, and is open to any suggestions or ideas students have to do so. She also became bothered after learning how many students lack knowledge of the educational system, like awareness of budget cuts and where financial aid is coming from.
Estrada feels as though many students take classes for granted. Her goal is, and always will be, to open and broaden their minds. “I’m representing at least 3,500 students. I have to care for them,” Estrada said.
Education is very important to her, and said that it falls right next to her family, in a scale of important things. She said that from the start, her parents have always pushed her to educate herself and pursue a stable career. She is confident about spreading knowledge to others and hopes to be her younger brother’s inspiration to continue education, as she is the first of her family to do so.
Though she has thought of giving up when times were tough, what stops her is a simple “What if.” She fights against her fear, believing that the worst that can happen is being told to try again.