A.S. presidential candidate: Chelsea Baer

by David Hernandez, News Editor

The Daily Aztec sat down with the A.S. presidential candidates to get to know them better. The three candidates will debate at 12 p.m. on March, 12 at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union courtyard.

Chelsea Baer is a journalism junior with a minor in Spanish. She is from Alpine, California.

The Daily Aztec: How are you involved on campus?

CB: First and foremost, Professional Studies and Fine Arts College Council. With the council, I joined as a freshman actually … In the council I started out as a student-at-large member and then I ran for vice president of public affairs, and then I ran for executive vice president and that’s what led me to being the president (of the council). During my time there, in each position I’ve learned so much about the college and about the university as a whole.

I just love the diversity that PSFA has — there’s majors ranging from ROTC Air Force to fine arts — and it’s really great to see how all of that collaborates together. It’s a great culture that we have in that college. With that position, I’ve had the opportunity to serve on the Academic Affairs Board for Associated Students, and in that board I’ve gotten to meet all of the presidents from all the colleges, and it rings true that each college has it’s own culture. It’s so great getting to know all that, and you can start to see patterns and start to see what students are from (College of Arts and Letters) and what students are from engineering. It’s really great and I think that the college councils really need credit to be given for all of the hard work they do, because they are what really gives the university such enthusiasm and just such richness.

Also, in PSFA I was involved with Professional Studies and Fine Arts Civil Core, and with the Civil Core that’s the college’s biggest service organization, so I’ve done a lot of community service with them. They do amazing projects and coordinate. They do a lot of reaching out in the community, but also reaching out within the college to make sure transfers and freshmen get a lot of help and guidance that they need—it’s really crucial that they stay on track.

And other involvements: Kappa Delta sorority. I’m so honored and so lucky to be part of Kappa Delta. It’s really a group of strong, intelligent, beautiful women on this campus. Last semester especially showed how strong they were (after two members died), and that gave me a look into how strong the Greek community is. All together, there was so much support during the hard times last semester, and it’s continued. My entire experience has been so positive and I’m so happy that I’m part of that as well.

DA: Why did you decide to run for president?

CB: My story is similar to what J.Cole says at orientation. When I came to orientation with my parents my freshman year, my dad tapped me on the shoulder and said, “That should be you. You should be the president of this university.” At the time, as a freshman, that’s such a huge concept to grasp, and I was like, “Yeah, Dad, sure…” Then once I started getting involved and realizing how great of an organization Associated Students is and how much they impact the students, impact the school, I started to really warm up to the idea and really start to make it a reality in my mind that I wanted to be Associated Students president. Along the way I looked at all the positions, and I really liked University Affairs as well because of how much connection there is and overlap with the student councils, which, as I said before, is really important to me. But then I realized I wanted to be president. I think it was probably this year, at the beginning of the year when I was holding the PSFA flag on stage at this year’s orientation. I was looking out and I just wanted to be able to connect the campus and unite it. I just felt that energy and decided I was going to do it.

DA: Why did you choose SDSU?

CB: I applied to about ten schools. When I was touring these schools there were some in California, there were some in New York, and I was trying to decide between East Coast or West Coast with journalism. All of the schools I was looking at had great programs, but there’s just something about staying local, and San Diego is such an amazing city all together. You have the mountains out East, you have the ocean out West and just so many places in between. I wasn’t ready to leave, and I loved having my parents 30 minutes away to be able to go home and see my dog when I missed him. Also, the diversity this campus offers and, like I said, the energy on campus—it really drew me in.

q&aDA: What has been your most memorable experience at SDSU so far?

CB: My most memorable experience has been the PSFA Happening, which happened this year for the first time — we brought it back — it hasn’t happened for about four years, and that’s when we gather all of the freshmen right after orientation and bring them over to the courtyard outside of the PSFA building. Everyone was tabling there. We had KCR, we had The Daily Aztec, we had every organization that we could get from the college there, and it was a way of bridging the freshmen from new students to members of the college and really initiating that connection with them. It was such an incredible experience for me because I was there from day one when we thought of bringing it back to really seeing it into fruition. And that was such an incredible process — the way everyone worked together, the way everyone fully committed to that and made it happen was such an incredible experience for me.

DA: How will you get people outside of your inner circle to support you?

CB: So, that was really important to me and my team as a whole. We want to reach out to every organization, or people who aren’t in an organization on campus. It’s important to recognize that there’s a distinct division between the students who are in the loop — so to say — and have membership in an organization or have a way of being informed and then the students who maybe have another job or have a child or have another life that they can’t always be fully informed on things. So for our campaign, we’re trying to visit and reach out to as many as people as possible. Also, through social media we’re using that. It’s such a great tool, and especially with me having a background in journalism I see that as a very important way of reaching out to people and it’s a way of using it in a positive light. We have a website, and it’s a WordPress account so it’s a blog format. So along the way we’ll be posting blogs to keep people up to date — where we’ll be speaking, when we’ll be speaking — that way there’s a real transparency and a direct message from us to the students.

DA: What areas does SDSU need to improve on most?

CB: I’d like to start off by saying I think our university has a great momentum and is growing right now on campus behind the ideas of improving communication and improving awareness on issues such as sexual assault and safety. Our three main topics that we want to focus on are—we’re reaching out to SDSU and we have it spelled out S-D-S-You, because it’s reaching out to the individual—and the three areas would be your success, your safety and your legacy. So as far as success goes, each student needs to have better access to resources on campus because we have so many great resources. We have Career Services, we have Student Life and Leadership — which offers so many amenities and so many opportunities into the professional world — as well as Student Health Services for students’ well-being and a lot of the time it’s hard. It’s great that they’re there but it’s hard to connect the students, and that needs to be improved upon. There needs to be more communication there.

You’re safety: I would love to see continued educational programs like there has been this past semester.

And your legacy: It’s really important to realize that in our time where—whether it’s two years, three years, four years, six years, whatever—that is a great and pivotal time in all of our lives and it’s a time that we can really make an impact and leave a strong legacy for other future incoming Aztecs to aspire to rise above even. So those are the three main things I would say our campus can continue to grow and learn from.

DA: What is the best advice you’re received in college?

CB: Being present in the moment. I received that advice from many of my mentors and advisers, because all of us have a lot going on. We have organizations, jobs, family, friends, and it’s easy to get caught up and overwhelmed. And it’s important to take a step back sometimes and really just enjoy the moment rather than becoming so stressed out.

DA: What’s your favorite place to eat on campus?

CB: Hands down Olive Oil Café. I love the freshness and I love the conversations that I have with the people who work there. They’re a family that runs it, and they’re so funny. Even on my worst day they can make me smile, make a joke about how I look tired. They’re very fun and it’s super delicious.

DA: If you weren’t majoring in journalism, what would you major in?

CB: That’s a tough one because I love the journalism department and from day one knew that was the major I wanted.

I would say hospitality and tourism management because it’s a great major that has so many opportunities for internships and real-life experiences. Also, the students have so much passion in that school as well, and they just seem like such a fun group of people. It’s a family feel and everyone’s always doing such amazing things, so probably HTM.

DA: Why do you think you can understand SDSU students more than other candidates?

CB: First, to answer that question, I would like to say I respect every candidate that is running, and I truly mean that. But I would represent the students in a great way because I offer the knowledge of Associated Students because of my involvement with the council, but not the traditional way, per say, because I’m not directly in the A.S. sphere you could say, but I also understand it. And I understand the commuter’s perspective as well because so many of my friends are from the local area that I grew up with, and I understand that it’s hard to get involved sometimes. It’s hard to know where to start, and I understand that that needs to be improve on.

DA: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish?

CB: I hope to unite the campus more; I hope to bring everyone together. And I hope to empower people to share their voices, because there’s so many voices that maybe don’t get heard currently that could add so much to the campus conversation and the Aztec way of life.

DA: What is one thing people don’t know about you?

CB: People don’t know that I’m actually an activist for animal rights too. I volunteered all throughout high school, and when I got to college — I miss it, because I don’t have as much time to volunteer. We had an animal shelter in our town, and I have a dog named Diego. We named him that because we got him right when we moved here (from Ohio). He’s a chug, which is a Chihuahua and pug mix, and I love him so much. He’s part of the reason I stayed local and went to SDSU — so I could check in with him.