Associated Students Executive Vice President candidate Vanessa Girard

by Jocelyn Moran, Senior Staff Writer

Name: Vanessa Girard

Position: Executive Vice President

Year: Junior

Major: Hospitality & Tourism Management

1. Why did you decide to run for A.S. Executive Vice President?

When I first stepped on campus my freshman year, during summer orientation, I actually had the opportunity to meet with Jonathan Cole (former A.S. President in 2014-2015), and I literally just ran up to him after he spoke. I’ve had a lot of experience with Associated Student Body and student government in high school, and I knew I wanted to do something of that scheme here. After being here during summer orientation and getting to meet (Cole), it cultivated a passion inside me, and I just knew I wanted to run for an executive office position.

2. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish?

At the end of my term, I would hope to have accomplished at least inspiring a vast majority of our students. I believe every student has the full opportunity to take advantage of everything they have here and enhance their collegiate experience. I want to leave office having changed one student organization, having changed a handful of students’ lives, inspiring them to go after the dreams they want and letting them know SDSU can provide that for them.

3. What do you like and dislike about A.S.? What would you change about it?

One thing I do dislike about A.S. is the vibe it gives off to students. The reason I use that term is because I want A.S. to have a good vibe with students, and I want them to understand everyone in A.S., and the things we are advocating for. We are all students, too. We are just like them. I want to be relatable. I want A.S. to be relatable. Hitting on that notion of transparency, and making sure that A.S. is giving a presence to our students of welcoming and advocating for what their interests and needs are.

One thing I really do like about A.S. is that it encompasses a very diverse realm of students from our campus. I remember first joining A.S., and I immediately had friends from all different backgrounds and different organizations and facets of campus. One thing I want to do is even encourage some of those students who aren’t represented in A.S. to really take a role in a committee or commission. Get involved and make sure your voices are heard for your community. I think A.S. is a really awesome melting point of all the communities that are represented at state.

4. What areas does SDSU need most improvement on?

One thing I think SDSU needs improvement on is the feasibility and easiness for student organizations to reserve space on campus. We have over 350 student organizations on campus, and with that many organizations, they all need somewhere to congregate, whether that means event space, meeting space or practice space. Many of our student organizations are involved in so many other events, especially the ones they put on, and they need that space and time to plan those events and practice for those 8-9 hour dance practices they may have a week. I think we need to work on feasibility or something that would make the readiness of student organizations acquiring those spaces easy on campus. Even if that means expansion, I think that’s something SDSU needs to look at for sure.

One of my goals is to create a tangible safe space in the Student Union, and that goes hand-in-hand  with the student union really pushing for and striving to be that home away from home for students on campus. A place where students can come and voice their concerns face-to-face with me. I want to make sure I am a relatable vice president and someone the students feel they can talk to.

Another thing I want to do throughout my term in office would be to implement a “What Matters to State” campaign. This is kind of different from a lot of other campaigns that we have. It’s more about information about ongoing global issues, and what they’re doing and the university is doing as a whole. What I want to do differently with this campaign is give students and organizations the opportunity to speak about these ongoing global issues and how they are really affecting them as a student organization and their collegiate experience.

I really want to make sure I can cultivate an environment of motivation for our students. We have over 35,000 students on this campus, and with that comes a whirlwind of opportunities, and I want to make sure all of our students are aware of those opportunities, and if they’re not, I want to make sure those opportunities and resources are readily available to them.

5. What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

One thing people may not know about me is that I was an only child, and I grew up with my single parent, my mother. I do have two younger brothers now, but I grew up most of my life as an only child with my mom. It really was just us two. I think a lot of people have different stereotypes about people depending on those different organizations they’re a part of, and I think it’s kind of cool to understand the different backgrounds of people. My mom definitely raised me to be a very independent person. I’m a very social person which many people do know about me, but you wouldn’t really stem that with someone who grew up living life day-by-day. I mean everybody’s been through their struggles, and I think having the conversations with students about everyone’s kind of had their own thing, what’s yours? I’ve moved so many different times, been very nomadic, and I’ve always had a very close relationship with my mom. She’s really been my rock through everything.

I want students to know I’m not here to preach about what we need to do differently and about what we did in the previous years like they do every year. I want students to know I have been genuinely interested in our campus climate, what SDSU has and what we can do for students because SDSU has provided so much for me. I know it can do more for other students. I want students to know I am a student who is seriously there for me. I’m relatable and easy to talk to. I want to talk to students. I want to have conversations.

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