Aligned with President Covino's goal of better connecting the campus to the community and vice versa, Cal State L.A. students Sasha Perez and Nicholas Carrillo both ran for and won seats on the LA-32 Neighborhood Council of El Sereno.
As director of the LA-32 south region, which encompasses the Cal State L.A. area, Sasha Perez hopes to one day transform El Sereno into a college town. For now, she is focused on beautifying the city by incorporating art and environmental awareness into the community.
“We plan to pick up all the trash, wash the sidewalks, repaint business buildings, design murals, promote healthy living and sustainability programs, and also bring more organic vegetable gardens into the surrounding neighborhood,” she said.
Perez was encouraged to pursue this leadership role while working as an intern at the Office of Councilmember Jose Huizar (D-14). There, she handled marketing and outreach for such projects as the Huntington-Eastern Business Improvement District, focusing on improving local businesses in El Sereno.
This fall, Perez will also serve as a vice president of external affairs and advancement for the university’s Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) student government. She previously held the post of chief justice for the ASI Judicial Review Committee.
“I think it is advantageous to be a student and a community representative, at the same time, so we can collaborate as we move forward,” she said. “I have ideas where we can work together to improve the community as well as benefit the campus.”
Perez, who is pursuing degrees in political science and environmental geosciences at Cal State L.A., feels that she is well-prepared in taking on the double duty.
“I recently realized that my classes, where I learned about campaigning and political reasoning, are coming to life with my other activities,” she said. “I am really thankful to all my great professors at Cal State L.A. who have shared their knowledge, and they have been supportive in all my endeavors.”
Thus far, Perez indicated that one of her most meaningful experiences while at Cal State L.A. was participating in the California Higher Education Student Summit hosted by the California State Student Association.
“It was great to be able to meet with student representatives from the other 22 CSU campuses and to learn about the state budget, civic engagement, and the legislative process,” she said. “Because of all the opportunities that opened up, I am looking forward to law or graduate school after graduation next spring.”
Nicholas Carrillo, who was elected to serve as the north region director for LA-32, is currently working on community outreach and planning to launch a note-taking workshop for elementary and middle-school students. He hopes to develop a partnership for students in the Cal State L.A. Urban Learning Program, who want to become future teachers, to go into local schools and prepare the youths for a higher education.
“I feel that we can better connect El Sereno with Cal State L.A., and make it known that every elementary middle or high school student has an opportunity to go to college... and that there is a great university right next door,” said Carrillo, who is an education major.
Carrillo took on the challenge of running for the neighborhood council position because he saw the opportunity to put his classroom education into practice and to help make a difference in the community at the same time.
“I believe Cal State L.A. trained me for this job. Through the liberal studies, history and political science classes, I learned how to identify challenges, tackle the issues and work on problem solving with the community,” he explained.
Carrillo will begin serving as ASI’s vice president for academic governance in the fall. He previously served on the University-Student Union Board representing the student voice and on the ASI Legislative Affairs Committee to help lobby for higher education and student success.
“The campus activities I have been involved in helped build me up as a leader,” he said. “I plan to become an elementary school teacher in the community after completing my multiple-subject credential, but my ultimate goal is to become a school principal.”
Links of interest:
Associated Students, Inc. at Cal State L.A.: http://www.asicsula.org/
LA-32 Neighborhood Council: http://la32nc.org/what-is-la-32/
Political Science Department at Cal State L.A.: http://web.calstatela.edu/dept/pol_sci/index.htm
Urban Learning Program at Cal State L.A.: http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/ccoe/programs/ulrn