top of page
ru_campus_18_0076.jpg

VP of Diversity & Social Justice Candidates

2023-2024

Image (2).jpeg

 

Candidate: Ashley Garcia Torres

Academic Program/Degree: Politics and Pre-Law 

Current Year at Regis: Second 

Why are you interested in becoming a RUSGA Elected Officer? 

I found a lot of difficulty in deciding if I should stay at Regis after my first semester of my freshman year. I felt isolated, overlooked and as though my voice as a person did not matter. I had forgotten what it felt like to be one of if not the only person of color in a classroom, a feeling that I was reminded of upon entering Regis. This institution has made wonderful strides to being more diverse, but I have yet to see a fundamental shift in culture that this establishment so desperately needs. I decided to stay at Regis because I want to ensure that no one else feels the same way I did. I am interested in becoming a RUSGA elected officer because I wholeheartedly believe that I will be able to start the process of not just hearing, but amplifying and giving power to the minority voices within our community. 

If elected, what would be your top two priorities to improve the student experience at Regis? 

My first priority is implementing implicit bias and cultural competency training for professors and staff. I have heard far too many negative experiences and racialized experiences from students about uneducated staff at Regis. If there are ways in which we can create avenues for understanding, there is no reason in which this institution should not be taking advantage of and utilizing them. My second priority would be to celebrate and honor the many communities that comprise Regis. Amplifying and giving power to voices on campus also means taking time to honor and celebrate the beauty that is to simply be. I have chosen these two topics as my priorities for improving student experience because in my first semester at Regis, I along with several classmates, conducted a survey on racial inequality on campus. Although there are many changes and wants that I heard about, these two priorities have become such because we can improve student experience by first understanding the student experience. 

In your opinion, how best can RUSGA serve the students of Regis University? 

RUSGA can better serve the students of Regis University by creating more avenues for open communication and dialogue. Oftentimes, conversation times will be catered to students who live on campus. In doing such, we are leaving out commuter students, the students that comprise a great majority of diversity at Regis. If we want to better serve the students, we need to meet them where they are. 

What skills and strengths do you possess that will help you to be successful in your position if elected? 

I work with organizations that focus on the liberation of all people. This is done specifically through abolition, decolonization, and dismantling of white supremacist structures. Through these positions I have gained experience with community organizing, leading conferences and meetings, and listening to and working with the voices of the oppressed. I have also developed many skills in these spaces that would be applicable to this position. Understanding, reflecting, unlearning, and relearning the systems that oppress us is very important to the work I do. I will be able to use these skills to evaluate the systems that affect the people in the Regis community. This will allow me and others to come to a much deeper understanding, as this work develops with the community which means we will always have to unlearn and relearn with it. 

What job related, volunteer, or lived experience do you have that you think has prepared you for, or would transfer well, to this position? 

I have been working within activism and community organizing since my sophomore year of high school. I think my work serving my community would transfer well into serving the Regis community. In working as a board director of Stride Community Health Center I have learned to listen and understand the experiences of both staff and patients. As a Policy and Education Researcher, I have learned critical thinking and empathy. What I think will serve my community best, however, is the mindset I have gained in doing this work. The belief “my liberation is tied to your liberation” is one that I wholeheartedly believe in and will serve with. 

Image (1).jpeg

Candidate: Yelenne Martin

 

Academic Program/Degree: English and Psychology 

Current Year at Regis: Second 

Why are you interested in becoming a RUSGA Elected Officer? 

I’m interested in becoming a RUSGA Elected Officer due to the simple importance there is in being involved within your community. Involvement comes in all forms and I feel that when given the opportunity and ability to do so one should participate. My interest in being involved within my community as a RUSGA Elected Officer is due to how I feel that being part of RUSGA makes a huge impact within the community due to the various responsibilities they have on campus that have positive effects on the community that they have been able to successfully do. Another aspect of this is that as the current first-generation representative, it has already been meaningful to try and voice the opinions of not only those who I represent but as well as others who have come to me. This aspect is something I feel is so crucial and I believe that continuing as a RUSGA Elected Officer is crucial to continue this and keep amplifying the voices of Regis students. 

If elected, what would be your top two priorities to improve the student experience at Regis? 

My top two priorities to improve the student experience at Regis would be trying to contribute to making the community more interconnected in regards to different affinity clubs such as SOMOS (Latinx affinity group), 1leads (First-generation student alliance), ASA (Asian student alliance), QSA (Queer student alliance), and BSA (Black student alliance) that all revolve around aspects of diversity and inclusion to be more known where it becomes easier for them to hold events that get students involved. These clubs are crucial for the student experience due to the connection many share within their identity as well as the intersectionality many students at Regis have and creating a sense of community that contributes to improving the student experience drastically. Next, would be to try to hold events that students show interest in due to there being times when I believe some events aren't as fulfilling due to the lack of interest or not being fully aware that the events are for everyone regardless of their identity. These events are important in assuring that different groups at Regis feel represented and included. It's crucial to put focus on inclusion and diversity that will vastly improve the student experience at Regis. 

In your opinion, how best can RUSGA serve the students of Regis University? 

RUSGA can best serve the students of Regis University by listening to their voices and advocating for them. Assuring that their voices and opinions are amplified where it centers not only on student needs but as well as student wants. There are different ways this can be done due to how students' voices are so important and creating a space for them to speak helps RUSGA best serve the students due to how RUSGA should be a reflection of what the students want. 

What skills and strengths do you possess that will help you to be successful in your position if elected? 

The skills and strengths that I feel that I possess that will help me be successful in my position if elected are communication, creativity, time management, and sociability. I feel these are necessary skills to have within this position due to how I believe that communication and sociability are important in working on different projects throughout the year within RUSGA, but also outside of RUSGA when speaking to students and wanting to hear their voices. Next, time management is a crucial skill for planning and being able to manage all tasks at hand. Lastly, creativity is a skill I believe is essential to be able to think about different possibilities within a project and be able to do what is considered best for the students. 

What job related, volunteer, or lived experience do you have that you think has prepared you for, or would transfer well, to this position? 

I’ve done work at Latina Safehouse as an intern and continue to do so experience that will transfer over well in this position due to how within this experience I’ve met and have had to work with people of all different backgrounds which I feel is important due to how the Regis community is diverse and it’s important to be able to acknowledge these differences in the way they manifest in our lives. Being able to acknowledge these differences and celebrate them is something that should be emphasized. Another aspect to this is that within this position I have had to advocate for those who haven’t been able to do so on their own and this transfers over due to how as a RUSGA Elected Officer there is that need to advocate for students and amplify their voices. Next, being a first-generation student is an experience that I feel would transfer over due to how college can be difficult, and not having anyone to depend on makes it more difficult to navigate. I feel that within this position you are a resource for those around you and being able to help out and guide them in ways that as a first-generation I wished I had are crucial. Being able to share resources that I’ve learned about being in the First Scholars seminars at Regis as a first-generation student is something important as well as the ones I’ve learned through my own experiences. 

bottom of page