Associated Students of the University of New Mexico Senator Shayla King said the undergraduate student senate could use more minority members.
“At this point, I feel there is a fair amount of diversity,” she said. “I feel like we can use more. I feel like we should have at least another male African American senator. That would help a lot.”
At the moment, King is the only African American senator in the assembly. She was elected during the most recent ASUNM election in the fall semester.
King, 21, said she decided to run for senator to make the student government more inclusive.
“I decided to run because I felt like there was a need for certain things in ASUNM that hadn’t been taking place, such as bridging the gap between student athletes and non-student athletes and bringing more diversity to ASUNM,” she said.
And she said she is enjoying the experience so far.
“I’ve only been here about three weeks,” she said. “I’m having a lot of fun. There’s a fair amount of diversity in the senate.”
Originally from Atlanta, King said she decided to attend UNM with her swimming scholarship because of the University’s diversity and the reputation of its swim team. Just this weekend the team snagged another victory.
“We just had a meet against New Mexico State (University) last weekend,” she said. “We won by 100 points … It’s very exciting, and our season’s coming to an end.”
King, a sophomore studying business, said she expects to enter the Anderson School of Management in the next few semesters. She said she wants either to be an accountant or to work with philanthropy after college.
“I really like helping the community and seeing what the community’s needs are, as I’m doing here in ASUNM,” she said.
King said that ASUNM should strive to get more minority students involved in the senate through University programs.
“It should be our jobs to reach to other undergrads, such as freshmen, and get them interested in ASUNM through the (Emerging Lobo Leaders) program,” she said. “Then they can learn more about ASUNM and see if this is an option they want to take.”
And because of her belief on the importance of diversity, King said she personally urges minority students to give ASUNM a try. She hopes there might be more minority students on the ballot for this semester’s elections.
“People bring different backgrounds coming from different areas of the world,” she said. “We can bring different aspects, views and opinions that can figure out problems and bring new ideas to the table.”
The spring semester’s ASUNM elections will be on April 9.