ASU presidential candidates get candid

Gonzales advocates for a child-friendly campus

Lauren Gonzales

By Juan Calvillo

Lauren Gonzales is a political science major and student mother who wants to help the student population better themselves and their families. 

After arriving at East Los Angeles College, Gonzales joined the Delloro Transfer program for social justice. Gonzales said that the program opened her eyes to all the good she could accomplish. This led her to change her major to political science.

After changing majors, she became more involved politically at ELAC. During this time she became pregnant. 

Giving birth to her son gave her the drive to continue on her path. Knowing she could set an example for her son  by running for office, combined with her own  competitive nature, finally pushed her to run.

She has two important objectives she wants to accomplish if voted into office. Overall, wellness for students is important to Gonzales. 

“It would be really great for the gym to be open for all students. So people who don’t have the financial stability to pay for gym membership or even have a car to drive to the gym (can go),” Gonzales said. “We have a big homeless population, so I think this would be great for everybody.” 

Gonzales said she also wants to help student parents because she knows how hard it is.  She said that making the campus child-friendly is important. 

“I definitely want to make the classrooms more child-friendly. I want to work with the Child Development Center to see if they need more funding and if they need a bigger area. I definitely want to open that up because right now your child has to be two and be potty trained to be sent there. And there’s a huge waiting list,” said Gonzales.

Gonzales said that when she first had her child, she registered for a class that said no extra people were to attend. She had no child care at the time. 

This discouraged her to the point that she ended up dropping the class. By making the campus more child-friendly she said it could keep student parents from dropping out.

Paredes for improvement of ASU, student relations

Isai Paredes

By Miguel Barragan

Isai Paredes, Associated Student Union chief delegate, is running for ASU President. 

Paredes is a first-year Administration of Justice major.

He said he wants to increase the communication between ASU and the students of East Los Angeles College. 

At first, Paredes didn’t want to go to college because of his experience in high school, but his sister forced him to go to college and introduced him to ASU. 

He started working at the student activities office and said he was inspired by the hard work that goes on to make students’ lives better. 

“Seeing that motivation in students to help other students, it kind of gave me a sense of wanting to do the same,” Paredes said.

Paredes ran for chief delegate without knowing exactly what the position was, but was looking forward to working with students in different clubs. 

As chief delegate, he realized that there aren’t enough students involved with ASU nor are there enough students who know how the ASU should run. 

Paredes said that students are unaware about how ASU affects them around campus on a daily basis. 

“I went to a high school where the voices of students didn’t really matter and it kind of sucks because at the end of the day, we’re the future of the world,” Paredes said.

Paredes said the Husky Pantry that offers food to those with food insecurity that  ASU opened earlier this year, is a good example of how the union can help students. 

“The students who are in ASU are going through the same situations as other students are,” Paredes said.

“The only thing required from them is four hours a week, but they’re there on a daily basis and they put in more work than they’re supposed to. I guess that’s what really inspires me,”

“No matter who wins, we’re all here for the students. It’s not about a competition, it’s all about representation,” Paredes said.

Ha strives for an increase in mental health awareness, resources

Brian Ha

By Maria Marroquin

Brian Ha aims to increase mental health awareness on campus and increase the number of resources available for all students.

Ha is a communication studies major and plans on going into Human resources once he transfers.

Although he has only been a student at East Los Angeles College since summer of 2018, he only needs 5 more units to transfer.

In his short time at ELAC, he has been a part of student government and now holds a position in the Board of directors of the Associated Student Union.

“I’m part of the board this year, working with students doing advocacy events making sure that students rights are heard. I feel like I could do so much more if I were elected president because I want to give back to the community. I want them to know that there is someone who is there for them at all times,” Ha said.

He said his accomplishments are not only his since he feels like these wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the resources ELAC offers.

Because of this reason, Ha said running for president will allow him to give back to the college and most importantly the students.

“I decided to run because my classmates would come to me and discuss things like increasing awareness here on campus. They’d say ‘I wish something could be done about this or that problem’ and I realized that I could make a change by running for ASU president,” said Ha.

Ha said because he completed most of his units and he doesn’t need to take as many classes anymore he has time to dedicate himself to make the changes needed to help students attending ELAC.

He said that although first year students hold a place in his heart, he wants to make changes that positively affect everyone.

A few of the things Ha plans to do as president is to increase the awareness of the mental health on campus because he understands how stressful life, work and school can be all at the same time.

He wants students who suffer from any mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or anything related to have more help available to them.

“Brian is always at the ASU office doing over time. I know he’s going to be a good candidate because he’s willing to put in the time and effort,” ELAC student, Jesika De Jesus said.

She also said she’s glad Ha is focusing on mental health as his main goal because she has  benefited from going to counseling at the health center and thinks more students should be aware of these services.

But the health center doesn’t always have someone available to students right away.

She said sometimes it takes up to a month to get an appointment and increasing these services would be beneficial to anyone struggling with mental health issues.

Ha said he realized the resources available to night students are very limited compared to those who attend school during the day.

As president, he plans to work with activist groups to push the increase of hours at night so that night-time students have the same benefits as day-time students.

“Just because students come at night doesn’t mean they’re second class. We need to put them as the same playing field as students who come during the day.”

De Jesus also said considering night students is important because some students pay their health fee and never get to use it because the hours are not flexible to night or weekend students.

“He’s [Ha] really down to earth. I think he really has the heart for it. He’s not just doing it to be part of ASU. He’s doing it because he actually wants to see change on campus and advocate for students whose voices are not being heard,” said De Jesus.

Ha said his main role models are Bill Gates, Tim Duncan and Steve Jobs because their vision resonated with him from a  young age.

“You lead by example. You don’t lead just because you have a title. Which is what the people I mentioned do. They work with their team. I am not above you.I am one of you. I am here in the community helping you out. I’m not just sitting behind a desk looking at numbers and profit. I am here because I care about making a change,” Ha said.

Pelaez: a voice for the underrepresented

Jose Pelaez

By Juan Calvillo

Jose Pelaez is an undocumented student, president of UndocuHuskies and wants to help the underrepresented student population. 

Pelaez is an undocumented student doesn’t qualify for AB 540 or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which help undocumented students ease the struggle toward higher education.

  He has struggled since arriving at East Los Angeles College. 

The struggles he faced over the last year pushed him to create the UndocuHuskies Club to help undocumented students in every way possible. 

Pelaez decided to run for Associated Student Union president to help undocumented students and the larger student population. 

Pelaez said that one of the main things ASU should accomplish is  giving the student population a sense of pride.

He said that at other campuses he has visited, school pride is immediately apparent. 

He said that the students at ELAC would be more inclined to show their pride if they had equal representation. 

Pelaez said he includes South Gate students, evening students and others in this underrepresentation.

Pelaez wants to bridge the gap between these students and ASU. 

He wants to use as much of the funds provided to ASU to help with students’ problems.

“Some of my proposals for ELAC is to make ELAC a better home for students,” said Pelaez. 

He plans to do this by starting programs that benefit the student population as a whole. 

He wants to create a game room that will help students forget all the negativity and the problems of their day-to-day lives. He said that California State Polytechnic University, Pomona has a similar program and it is successful. 

Pelaez also plans to institute a program similar to Univesity of California Los Angeles Dream Summer Program. 

Most undocumented students have no way to apply to work while going to school, but the program pays their participants in scholarships. 

To read the full version of this story visit www.elaccampusnews. com

Lam aims to create resources, opportunities

Justin Lam

By Juan Calvillo

Justin Lam is a first year student at East Los Angeles College and wants to help his fellow students in their quest to transfer to a four year school. 

Lam chose ELAC as his first step on his path to higher learning. 

He soon realized the demands of college to the point that he had to quit a paying job to keep his current GPA of 3.8 steady.

Despite these demands, Lam has chosen to run for President of the Associated Student Union. 

His decision was not easily arrived at and he did a lot of thinking about whether this was a good move or not. 

His heavy class schedule and the idea that he would now become the face of the student government at ELAC weighed on him. 

He asked himself if he really wanted to become an advocate for the student population. 

His last minute application was done with one thought in his mind in the end.

“I’ve got nothing to lose. At the end of the day, it will benefit the community and me as a whole. I will be able to share what I want to change,” said Lam. 

He said that it all came down to his goals and what he could do to help students achieve their own scholastic goals .

He said that he has seen people sacrificing their educational opportunities for other aspects of their lives, like work and other life hurdles.

“I really want to be able to give students more of these opportunities so that they are able to be exposed to different communities and opportunities outside of ELAC,” said Lam. 

He said that four year universities  have many more opportunities than community colleges. 

Being a popular university opens doors that usually shut for most community college students.

His goals are twofold. Lam wants to empower and speak out for ELAC and its students. 

Lam wants others to know that just because it is a community college doesn’t mean that students here are not  as  capable as students from elsewhere. 

Providing students with more opportunities so that they don’t have to sacrifice their lives for school or vice-versa, is Lam’s ultimate goal.

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