Justin Cooper’s passion for student government was sparked when he ran for and was voted student body president for Eldorado High School. His motivation for becoming a student leader? He wanted to break out of his shell by getting involved and making school “more than just going to class.”
Born and raised in Albuquerque Cooper jumped right back into student government as soon as he began attending UNM.
He started out by serving as legislative coordinator for ASUNM. His freshman year, he was elected to become a senator, and would go on to serve as vice chair and chair of the Finance Committee.
While Finance chair, Cooper spoke with a multitude of student organizations, helping them understand the financial process. In the process, he was shedding light on how ASUNM works
After his term as a senator was over, Cooper ran for ASUNM vice president, the running mate alongside current ASUNM President Kyle Biederwolf. But he was unsuccessful.
“I lost and I didn't see it happening. But it did humble me, and after that I still love it,” he said. “I love this job and I'm not going to give up on it.”
Cooper said there are a lot of people this year that have their own opinions and ideas on how to improve student life, and that this election comes down to who thinks their ideas are going to be put into action.
Cooper said one of the main reasons he is running for ASUNM president is to improve safety on campus.
“I have ran three years. I ran for senate, I ran for vice president, and I'm running now and safety is still an issue,” Cooper said. “It is unfortunate that our administration doesn't listen to the students voice or student opinion about safety."
Cooper said he wants ASUNM to take ownership and make create positions for entities such as student safety patrols so that students can advocate for the safety of their peers.
“That is something that is feasible because it has already been budgeted. So we will just redefine ASUNM's position to work with UNMPD and the Safety Committee,” Cooper said.
Cooper said what sets him apart from the other three candidates is his passion.
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“I love this, and regardless of the outcome, I am still going to love it and come back to it again,” he said.
Denicia Aragon is a staff reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @deniciaaragon98.