A.S. executive vice president candidate Bella Martelino

A.S. executive vice president candidate Bella Martelino.

Photo courtesy of Bella Martelino

A.S. executive vice president candidate Bella Martelino.

by Johann Derek Oribello, Senior Staff Writer

Name: Bella Martelino 

Position: Executive Vice President

Slate: SDSU 2020 Vision

Year: Sophomore 

Major: Undeclared

Why do you want to run for executive vice president?

“Since freshman year, I’ve been working closely with Dr. Tanis Starck who has been somewhat of a mentor to me – she’s the director of Intercultural Relations at San Diego State. I identify as a Filipino and Guatemalan woman, so my identity is very important in how I advocate for others and (in) taking her course, I learned how we advocate for our communities that aren’t a part of our own and why it’s important to do so. 

“Ever since then, she’s been pushing her students to drive for leadership initiatives. That made me think, ‘I can complain about things that are happening to me when I go to school and what I experience, but what am I going to do that’s actually going to make a change for that? What am I going to do for the communities that are a part of mine and not a part of mine as well?’ Since then I’ve been involved … I ran for a position as the undeclared representative, and I got the position. Since then it catapulted me into this amazing journey of meeting amazing, genuine and passionate leaders.”

What makes you qualified for this position?

I think that my experience in Associated Students and outside Associated Students makes me qualified for this position. In Associated Students, I served on the Campus Life Council, and I also act as a representative of the Undeclared Studies on the University Council. All of these experiences have taught me the inner workings and outreach of A.S. government. 

“What sets me apart from anyone else is my participation in other organizations that aren’t involved in A.S. I’m in Greek life (and) I’m in the science and honors society as well as cultural programs. I think that being a part of these different groups who usually do not interact and also have preconceived notions of each other, I understand what makes them disconnect and why they hold different perspectives. I believe that because I know this, I know better how to connect these communities and create platforms for them to collaborate and become one community.” 

What would you like to change at SDSU?

“I want to focus on creating and fostering collaboration between communities within SDSU. In terms of collaboration, just an example, we have over 300 recognized student organizations on campus but we rarely see any interaction between them. The Women’s Outreach Association and SISSTER are an example of two organizations that have similar goals but you don’t see them collaborating because of the different communities they are a part of. In this position, I want to provide those platforms and opportunities for organizations that have different dynamics to work together.”

What would you like to stay the same at SDSU?

“I think Associated Students as a whole, this is an experience and a type of student government that I’ve never seen on such a large scale with its impact at State. Literally anyone can join, you have the opportunities to promote your voice and say your grievances. The shared governance that we have at State is really important … and it’s remembering that the decision you’re making isn’t just affecting your life, but it’s going to be affecting everyone else that you’re going to walk by and meet on this campus. It’s such a paramount value because it ensures that every member of the community, whether it’s staff, student, faculty or administrators, they all have the opportunity to weigh in on matters of policy and procedure. It’s very accessible to everyone in that way.”

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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