The leap from Vassar College to UNM was jarring for GPSA presidential candidate Lorena Olmos, but she says it helped her see opportunities on campus that many overlook.
Olmos, who is pursuing her master's degree in Latin American Studies and a law degree, sees UNM as a premiere institution. She said that while it can be imposing, UNM offers more resources than the small, elite liberal arts school she previously attended. As president of the graduate student government, Olmos said she would work to make sure others throughout New Mexico see the University in the same light.
"We are such a diverse campus with so many strong graduate programs, but people fail to see that and recognize the work that graduate students do here," she said. "I would work hard to make it clearer that people should invest in this school and make life easier on graduate students who do so much for this community and this state."
Previous experience in leadership positions throughout her life and working as a GPSA Council member are qualifications that Olmos said has prepared her for the job.
"I think I have the personal skills of being able to talk to people of different backgrounds, and I am unique in that I can understand and represent the concerns of professional and graduate students," she said. "I'm organized, I've worked with a lot of departments and I know how to get things done."
Olmos defines the GPSA president as a liaison between students and upper administration. She added that the president also can help graduate students navigate different aspects of University red tape that can distract them from the work they should be focusing on at UNM.
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At the same time, Olmos said accessibility and student involvement in government on campus is one of her biggest concerns.
"I would work to change and really improve the access to information through even more promotion about what kinds of services are available through GPSA," she said.
She added that the only way students would choose to get involved, outside of being lured by controversy, would be if they felt what they had to say mattered.
"Students need to feel that their vote counts and what they tell student government actually will have an impact," she said. "We've been lucky to have such a diverse group of students interested, but we need to reach out to areas like the medical school to help improve GPSA. I know medical students are busy, but their voices need to be heard."