Patricia Caballero, GPSA Presidential Candidate, Community and Regional Planning
Daily Lobo: What do you see as the biggest issues facing the graduate community?
Patricia Caballero: How do we come together as a unified body, how do we identify goals and priorities, and how do we go after them strategically? We need to work on determining what the plan is so we are not caught in reacting to crisis, but that instead we pursue a common agenda. … We all know the issues that are affecting us, but we need to focus on how to go about pulling together that common agenda. When you stand united, you stand to achieve and accomplish a lot more.
DL: If elected, how will you work to address these?
PC: I would decide what the common agenda is going to be and work with ASUNM and other organizations to develop that. We have already begun the process with the joint discussions with ASUNM on how we can come together to pull a joint-working commission together.
We should pull together a planning meeting and talk about the common issues that we have — identify two or three — and then we can enter into a joint agreement for the year. That agreement is going to propel us into action so that we can accomplish what we have identified.
Also, the departments and schools should be surveyed on a regular basis to determine from them what their needs are. The survey instrument is a wonderful way to engage with students and elicit information.
DL: What are some problems with current GPSA workings?
PC: There has been a disconnect the past couple years between the legislative and executive branches. This is due to the current style of leadership. I have always been a team player. I have never assumed that because I have the position of president that I am in charge, and because I am in charge, I am going to create an agenda for everyone. If elected, I would make sure we all come together, distribute tasks, have timelines to report and measure outcomes to see if we are on target.
DL: Why is it important for student governments like GPSA to be active on campus?
PC: Our daily lives as students are affected by decisions that are made on our behalf. It is important for us as students to not only have a say but to be part of that decision-making process. We have to be the decision makers. Self-reliance is a fundamental right and principle of a democracy. There should be citizen engagement and participation at all times.
We are the consumers on campus, but the mission of this institution is to provide education so we can be propelled into our professional careers. It makes sense that we should be dictating how the institution is going to be run.
DL: How have the debates been going?
PC: The debates are tough because I’m not the type of person that sits in front of the room and talks. I like to sit in circles and talk that way. It is so rigid, but it has to be how it is because it is a professional debate.