Born and raised in Albuquerque, sophomore business major Elena Garcia has always felt comfortable in New Mexico. But it wasn’t until she began serving on ASUNM Senate last fall that she found a home at UNM.
Garcia said she initially didn’t feel like there was much of a community on campus, but she found it through trying to make a difference for UNM’s undergraduate student population.
Now she wants to take on an even bigger role to help those students.
“Senate drove me to running for president. I see a lot of potential in ASUNM and I see a lot of potential in the agencies,” Garcia said. “I believe I possess the skills and abilities to help the agencies and the presidential cabinet to lead them and have everyone reach their potential for the students.”
Garca has led different projects from University blood drives to organizing galas for non-profit organizations such as the Heart Gallery NM. These experiences have become a bit of a calling card for Garcia, efforts that she believes have helped her grow as a leader.
Garcia said while she does not think there are any specific groups that are being underrepresented on campus, there’s a large group of students in general that aren’t having their voices heard.
Voter turnout for ASUNM elections has been lacking in recent semesters, something Garcia said she thinks does an injustice to all undergraduate students. She added that it is important for all students to know about their student government and know how they can be involved.
“They’re always the students that do not care, that want to come to campus and go home, but I’m hoping to change that and show students that their student government has the potential to do great things for them,” Garcia said. “We want students to care and we want students to voice their opinion. We want everyone to be heard.”
One of Garcia’s main goals is to improve communication between students and ASUNM. She said there is a large divide between them, and she hopes to “bridge that gap.”
“It is important that students know they have a student government that is making important decisions for them and that they have a voice in the decisions that are going to affect them,” she said.
Garcia said what makes her unique among the other three candidates is the fact that she hasn’t been involved in ASUNM as long as they have, resulting in what she believes is a necessary fresh perspective.
“I am not the typical candidate that runs for these positions,” Garcia said. “I know what it’s like to be on the other side of student government. I have not been in ASUNM for the entirety of my time at UNM, so I have a new and valuable perspective for this position.”
Denicia Aragon is a staff reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @deniciaaragon98.