Kelly Smiley, Photo Editor
Name: Samantha Ledesma
Position: Vice President of External Relations
Major: Criminal Justice
1. Why did you decide to run for A.S VP of External Relations?
I have always had a huge passion for giving more to others and serving students, so coming in here as a freshman student I came as a Guardian Scholar, so I really want to get more involved and serve the underrepresented communities on campus. Having that passion and drive is what made me really want to get involved my first year
2. What are the first three things you would do on the job if elected for this position?
My goals are to first of all, promote more student engagement, so one of my goals is to provide more opportunities to students to have access to lobbying opportunities in Sacramento, and also work on advocating on the local and national level to work on establishing an undocumented resource center on campus. And having a more diverse representation, both with like on A.S. marketing materials and communications materials. Those are my three primary goals.
3. Why do you think you can understand SDSU students more than other candidates?
I think the reason I can understand more students is because I’ve faced a lot of barriers growing up, and getting here has been one of my greatest accomplishments. I think that because I’m so rooted in the community I’m really connected with the community. For example, I intern with the Community Law Project so what I do is I provide holistic problem-solving solutions for members of the community that are going through issues, such as anything to do with criminal law immigration or housing or public benefits, so I work alongside attorneys and help provide resources for those that are in need. I am very connected with the outside community as well. I (also) work as a college adviser, so I help empower students to get to college, just because growing up I never had anyone to go to college, so I think it’s really important to give back to the community.
I work at Hoover High School. (I’m) also working here as an undergraduate PR adviser. I mentor hundreds of students within our school’s public affairs department, making sure students are on track towards graduating. Being involved in other organizations on campus has made me really connected and well aware of what students are going through, and I think that I’m able to connect really well with students.
What issues are today’s college students going through?
A lot of the things I feel like, as a first generation college student, (and) a lot of the things that I see is hunger insecurity. I know that we have been working on the whole A.S. food pantry, so I think a lot of the issues that I see students going through is hunger, and I see a lot of homeless students sleeping in the library working one or two jobs while going to school because it’s really expensive to put themselves through college. Also for first generation college students it’s like the whole stress of coming into university, and it’s a first time away from home and having to be more independent.
4. If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?
One of my goals is to reach out more to the underrepresented communities, so I think that one of the things that I would have accomplished is outreaching more to those communities and providing more marketing materials, and collaborating with more organizations and departments and first year students and graduate students, those that aren’t really reached out to. I think we kind of lack representation of underrepresented communities within A.S., so I would want to provide more information to those students, and work on advocacy issues that are affecting them, so bringing them into external relationship board meetings, focusing on more issues that are prominent and pressing to the students. So, having educated students on things that are going on both in the CSU system and the state legislation, and informing students on that so that we can increase awareness of things that are going on. Then also establishing that undocumented resource center (and) lobbying on behalf of these students, and bringing up to Sacramento these issues that they’re going through, and how we can better serve the students here, because at the end of the day they are part of our university and they are studying here for their education, and their status shouldn’t really matter. I feel like a lot of students have a lot of concern, especially with the whole political climate.
I know there’s been talk (about the undocumented resource center), so I think definitely taking more action and working towards having that. I think definitely (promote it) by starting with having more conversations, because it’s really relevant to the political climate the way it’s being talked about, but I don’t see a lot of talk being made on campus. I think I would want to bring more education and talk more about it, and how we can provide more resources for undocumented students, as far as providing them with more legal services, and connecting them with A.S. legal services that we already have, and then promoting their health and wellness on campus. So bringing more awareness to that and bringing more conversations to that, I think that’s a start because I don’t think there’s too much talk about it.
5. What would you change in A.S.?
Again, outreaching more to the underrepresented communities. I would do that (by) outreaching more to the residence halls, the freshman year students, graduate students and other students that aren’t really involved in A.S. I think I would want to change that, and focus on more of the issues that are prominent to students on campus.