Associated Students election candidates make their cases for office


Orion reporters interviewed 16 out of the 18 A.S. candidates on Tuesday. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

The Associated Students election is on April 18 and several candidates are now campaigning for various positions. There are 18 official candidates running for 17 different positions.

The Executive Vice President, Director of University Affairs, Commissioner of Student Organizations and Programs, College of Agriculture Senator and College of Communication and Education Senator don’t have an official candidate for these spots. These positions will be elected with write-in votes.


1) Karla Camacho

Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: What qualifies you for this position?

A: I think there are a variety of things that qualify me for the office of president. My passion not only for higher education but for the students of Chico State (qualifies me). I think that the extensive network that I’ve built both in and out of Chico State truly do contribute to what a president should have; which is a team of people that are ready to help in any form that they can…I think that those are the two things, right off the bat that definitely qualify me. On a more grand scheme of things, I think it’s largely my great connections with the other CSU campuses that have allowed me to mobilize the campuses already and I plan to use those networks (to) mobilize them in the future.

Q: What are the responsibilities of President?

A: There is a lot that goes into being A.S. president. I think that we tend to think of it as a very corporate position, but i would actually like to differ in a sense because yes you are the head of a corporation but at the same time you are the main representative, or at least you should be the main representative, of the student body at Chico State.

Q: What are your main goals?

A: I think my main goals as president are to really inform the students of the issues that are affecting them. For example, I guarantee you that not enough students know that the CSU is being underfunded right now. I guarantee you not a lot of them know that there’s a proposed tuition increase (but) none of them really know that there’s a proposed cut of subsidized loans, public service loan forgiveness and other programs that really do benefit a lot of the students on our campus. But most importantly I think it also is to mobilize those students. To utilize that knowledge, give it to them and mobilize them in an organized way so that they will be able to make a difference and inspire those students from other CSU’s to do the same.

Q: Do you support yes or no on the A.S. ballot’s advisory measure and why?

A: I support the advisory measure because I think that as a student association we should be holding our university accountable and I think the measure is very simple in a way in that it simply states ‘should we encourage the university to truly hold true to the promise that they made?’ and I think that no matter what, as a student body…we should be regularly holding our university accountable. I just don’t mean that at the Chico State level, I mean that at a system-wide level and even more so at a statewide level.

2) Nadine Salas

Nadine Salas is running for Associated Students President. Photo credit: Martin Chang

Q: What makes you qualified to be A.S. President?

A: I’m currently the Commissioner of Community Affairs. I don’t even think my experience there and my position equipped me to become a successful leader. Where I came from wasn’t supposed to set me up as the president for a student body. I’m a low income, minority student, whose parents were on welfare, who shouldn’t have been able to get into college in the first place. I’ve been able to persevere and identify where I struggle, I think that motivation and perseverance is exactly what the student body needs, especially in the face of the administration. I want to be the president for the student who wasn’t supposed to get in here. I want to be that president for them.

Q: How will you help support student mental health?

A: I had this idea, it’s something that we talked about while I was Commissioner of Community Affairs. We’re thinking about having a Wildcat Roar day, we’re going to invite a lot of students and have an entire day dedicated to reach out and respond. We’re going to have it during our welcome week, a day to have groups sign up and have interval trainings for about three hours. Why not have an opportunity to have quick training on how to reach out to somebody who’s under the influence or needs some kind of assistance.

Q: Where do you stand on the advisory vote for the use of fossil fuels in Siskiyou II?

A: If we’re looking at our campus in general, we really want longevity in being the most cost effective. It comes down to a lot of different things, having a building on campus where we know that it’s going to be sustainable, we know that we’re leaving a smaller carbon footprint. We also have to understand that we’re a campus that affects an entire district, so we have some kind of responsibility to them. But also, it just makes the most sense economically. If we’re going to be creating a building on campus that, 50-60 years down the line is going to be obsolete… it just seems like a waste of resources.

3) Alisha Sharma

Alisha HorizontalOriginal.jpg
Alisha Sharma is running for Associated Student President. She is picture here on April 3. Photo credit: Martin Chang

Q: What makes you qualified for the position that you’re running for?

A: I believe that I’m qualified for the position of A.S. president because of the unique and diverse perspective that I have as a student leader now. I started off in the Wildcat Leadership Institute as a student in the Freshman Leadership Opportunity program and from there I was elected as the commissioner of student organizations and programs and I had the opportunity to have hands-on experience working with our student groups on campus…The past year I’ve been serving as the executive vice president and still continuing with that I’ve been leading and guiding the other elected officers through multiple issues…With this past semester, I’ve been able to do all of that as A.S. president with a higher level with a stronger voice. I’ve been able to engage faculty staff administration and talk about issues that students face from all of the years of my experience.

Q: You’re running for the position that you’re in right now, tell me how this is going to be different for you, how do you want it to be different next year?

A: I (want) to continue to amplify the student voice and student stories to our faculty, staff and administration. (I also want to) increase the Associated Students commitment to our students basic needs in terms of resources and then also in terms of the other things we can be doing in our commitment to our students basic needs, and also to create a culture that students can get a greater sense of belonging and foster a campus community where every student feels more connected, supported and heard with a focus on our student mental health.

Q: Do you support yes or no on the A.S. ballot’s advisory measure and why?

A: (Yes) The advisory measure right now is to advise the Associated Students to push the university to do something, where in the past it could be about pushing A.S. to do something so for us…I worked really closely, as the Executive Vice President, with the class that came up with this advisory measure. I’m actually the one they turned in all their petitions to and all of that and worked really closely to Mark Stemen and his class and I believe that everything that this group does is with so much passion and with so much dedication. I really see that what they want to do is to make this campus as sustainable and as best it can be for the future of our students…The students are asking the university to commit to this value and anything the university can do to recommit to that value, if they’re able to do so they should do.


VP of Business and Finance:

Alex Williams

Optimized-AS2 Alex Williams2.jpg

Q: What qualifies you for this position?

A: I’m the current Senator for the College of Business and current Vice Chair of the Student Academic Senate. I already serve on the Academic Affairs Council and we have a current vacancy for the Executive Vice President, so I serve in that role too.

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: One of my main goals is an app, in the works, for when A.S. catering or A.S. dining have extra food. An email will be sent out that says there’s extra food and you’re more than welcome to come eat.

Q: Do you support the three proposed student fee increases? Why or Why not?

A: I know extensively about the student fee increase so I vote completely yes on it…I feel most students would vote yes on it if they knew extensively what it was going toward.

Q: Do you support yes or no on the A.S. ballot’s advisory measure and why?

A: Yes. I feel like sustainability is a huge part of our campus, so I think (we) should stay being a Climate Neutral campus…I don’t know why we couldn’t reaffirm our commitment to being a Climate Neutral campus.

VP of Facilities and Services:


1) Kelsey Mccaffrey

Photo credit: Rachael Bayuk

Q: What qualifies you for this position?

A: I’m a good public speaker and I love to work with people. My communication skills ultimately (are) going to kind of back me in this (role) and (will) make me a really good candidate for the position because most of this is all communication-based. Between leading clubs, being director of clubs and being director of events, (those experiences) make me a qualified candidate for this position

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: My first thing is representation. I feel like students have good ideas, students have brilliant ideas on how we can improve facilities, how we can improve the services we offer to them and because they’re paying tuition, their voice should be heard. I feel like there’s a disconnect. There’s no bridge between students and the higher ups that are going to make these decisions, so I want to be that voice. I want to be that person that literally can sit in Sutter dining hall and have a table saying “suggestions,” rather than there just being a box for you to put a slip of paper in.

Q: Do you support the three proposed student fee increases? Why or Why not?

A: You have the health, athletic and then the student learning fee. I do applaud the efforts that have been made, when students were outraged, people listened and forums were held but I feel like we could do better. We can always do better, we can always have more voices be heard…As far as the fee increase, I feel like we’re paying enough already. I understand where they’re coming from, I understand the idea of the health (fee). If there’s any piece of those fee increases I’m going to be behind, it’s the student health increase. The idea that you walk into that health center and you can’t get an appointment, is ridiculous…but I also feel like a statue was in proposal to be put up as well, so I think the allocation of resources needs to be looked at first, before we jump to a (fee) increase.

2) Zach Scott


Q: What makes you qualified for this position?

A: I think my past experience in A.S. is definitely a start. My sophomore year I was commissioner of community affairs and I’m finishing up my term right now…I think that in terms of transitions, having the position before and already having seen A.S. for the past two years, I can kind of hit the ground running when starting instead of having that whole first semester that people usually take to (get acclimated)…I think that experience in A.S. is the biggest qualifier.

Q: What are the responsibilities of VP of Facilities and Services?

A: Within your tuition you pay $794 a year for a student union fee and (each semester that’s multiplied by) 17,000 students. (This) is the total budget that this position’s committee is in charge of managing. That committee is the Bell Memorial Union committee…those dollars come in and it’s pretty much the committee’s (responsibility to) allocate ways they see fit for the student needs. It’s a big budget, but this year the main thing we did on the committee…is made this Bell Memorial Union master plan.

Q: Do you support the three proposed student fee increases? Why or Why not?

A: (They are) deferred fee increases because they are increases that should have been a lot less, that should have happened 10 years ago…but it didn’t get brought forward. Am I in favor of them? Yes, I’m in favor because what many of the students don’t understand are the repercussions of what would happen if (they) didn’t (pass).

Director of Legislative Affairs:

1) Jasmine Cruz

Photo credit: Rachael Bayuk

Q: What makes you qualified for this position?

A: I’m the founder and president of the Chico State Political Science Honor Society and I hold board positions in the Chico State Democrats and the pre-law society so I have experience being a leader. I have experience helping other people achieve their goals and I’m not afraid to get in there and ask tough questions to get stuff done.

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: One of my main platform goals is just getting college students politically active and getting them more involved in the political system because a lot of the times, these laws are being made by (a few) people and they’re going to affect our generation more than others. We need to get in there voting, knowing who to vote for and knowing what our main issues are.

Q: Do you support the three proposed student fee increases? Why or Why not?

A: My position on the fee increases has always been that I’m not ok with the unconstitutional way that the president is going about the situation. Whether or not the fee increases are a good or bad idea doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that she’s going on with it unconstitutionally.

2) Elizabeth Blackford

Photo credit: Rachael Bayuk

Q: What makes you qualified for this position?

A: I’ve been a member of the legislative affairs committee for the past two years and I know what they’re currently working on and I know what the current director wants to continue doing and I have close ties with other former directors and I intern for the state assembly so I’m also close to several lawmakers in California.

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: Well one of my goals is just improving information sharing on campus. This past semester we’ve been doing voter registration drives to get as many registered voters on campus as we can to support measures that support our campus. So, I want to continue that and also just improve knowledge like with the midterm election coming up. It should be important to students. It determines a lot of things such as funding. Also working on ‘Meet the Candidate’ kind of stuff and also ensuring health at Chico state.

Q: Do you support the three proposed student fee increases? Why or Why not?

A: I do not support a fee increase and I will do all that I can do to prevent it from happening.

Commissioner of Community Affairs:

Alejandra Becerra Silva

Alejandra Becerra Silva2.jpg
Photo credit: Maria Ramirez

Q: What is this position responsible for?

A: It’s basically in charge of connecting the Chico State campus to the actual Chico community. The reason I’m running for this position is because I talk to a lot of students on campus and a lot of them say “I like coming to school here, but I would never live in the town.” I want to erase that. I want students to feel comfortable in the school, but also make them feel comfortable in the community they live in. Part of Commissioner of Community Affairs is going to different council meetings, such as Town and Gown.

Q: How do you plan to represent the students best in these councils?

A: I want to work with the students. I know that my best work is going to come from getting the student’s inputs and putting them into actions instead of doing my own thing. Gathering everybody’s words on what they want to see, what they want to produce, and having them help me do what I can.

Commissioner of Diversity Affairs:

Prairie Francia

Photo credit: Rachael Bayuk

Q: Why did you decide to run for this position and could you tell me about the responsibilities of it?

A: I ran for this position because I’m a Latin American studies major my objective is to help spread diversity within our community here at Chico State. I’m looking towards a future for what I want to do for my future occupation and I hope to be in a position where I can continue to be spreading cultural awareness into the community. We’re just living in a time where there is a lot of people are just unaware of cultural differences. Through the different activities we’re going to be dong at Chico State, we can help promote cultural awareness and I just want to be a part of that basically.

Q: What do you think makes you qualified for the position you’re running for?

A: I grew up in the multiculturally diverse community of Chapman Town here in Chico and since a young age I’ve realized that no matter what skin color we have, no matter what language we have, no matter what cultural differences we have, what it comes down to is we are all human and we all have a purpose here. We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I feel like having that awareness is a qualification in itself. I’ve studied in Latin America, I’ve lived in Colima Mexico and taught Spanish there for a semester. I did the study abroad program through Chico State a few years ago (and) I’ve been studying Spanish for a long time. I feel like I have an open heart and open mind.

Commissioner of Sustainability Affairs:

Tania Ruiz

Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: What qualifies you for this position?

A: Foremost would be my enthusiasm for the topic. I’m kind of an earth nerd type of person…I’ve also been spending a lot of time (at) the Sustainability Affairs Council meetings.

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: One of my goals is to remove plastic cups from all vendors…and replace them with biodegradable (cups).

Q: Do you support yes or no on the A.S. ballot’s advisory measure and why?

A: I do (support yes) for a multitude reasons; the primary one for me is the environment. Number two, what does it show when we promise something, and we don’t follow through, does our word mean anything?

Senator for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences:

Trevor Guthrie

Trevor Guthrie resize.jpg
Trevor Guthrie is running for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Senator seat. Photo credit: Martin Chang

Q: What qualifies you for this position?

A: Well my main goal in this position is to unify the students. My campaign slogan is strength in unity. My past two positions on campus have really prepared me for this. My freshman year I was the President of the Resident Hall Association, so that’s like the governing board for the resident halls. Now my second year here I’m the president of the Interfraternity Council, which is the governing board for all the social fraternities on campus.

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: I want to host events, maybe twice a semester, maybe just once a semester, where all the students of all the different majors in the college can get together and network with one another. All of the majors in the college basically go hand in hand, so I want the students to network with one another, maybe invite people from careers and internships to come and talk to students about what they have to offer.


College of Business Senator:

1) James Ryan

James Ryan is running for student government. Photo credit: Martin Chang

Q: What makes you qualified for this position?

A: I’ve been at Chico State now for three years (and) all three years I’ve been in college. I’m not a transfer student and I’ve been involved with several different clubs within both the business school and outside the business school; club sports teams, intramural sports (and) I’m in the accounting society. I believe as an accounting major, (the) education that I’ve obtained so far is really beneficial to understanding not just the communicative part within the business school, but (also) the financial part.

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: My goals if elected as senator of the college of business would be to…make sure that the college of business continues to develop and thrive with the reputation it has. I plan to put on another sort of job fair, but (one that) is more about finding a career that’s for you with all the different major combined together as one, not necessarily separate. So for people that aren’t certain with what they want to do with their degree I’ll have recruiters come hopefully and talk about what their career’s like and what it’s like in that job field.

2) Chris Taverrite

Chris Taverrite.jpg
Photo credit: Anne Chamberlain

Q: What makes you qualified for this position?

A: I think a big part of the position is being able to eloquently speak your own ideas and things that you believe will be best for the future of the college. I think that I’m a pretty good interpersonal communicator and I have some some managerial experience in my fraternity that I think will help me further in this election and potentially in a term where I can give back to the college.

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: (When) I was a freshman here and signed up for classes, I had almost no choice whatsoever. I kind of realized it would be because I was a freshman but when I got in them I realized that a lot of people within those classes are not actually (there for) their major. I feel like something that I’m passionate about. (I want to) make sure that business majors have priority registration for the classes that they need so they’re not pushed back and have to spend more time than they need here.

3) James Bass

Bass was out of town when The Orion set up A.S. interviews. Orion news reporters are in the process of setting up an interview with him.

College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management Senator:

Brandon Gentles

Gentles was unable to attend The Orion’s A.S. interview time slot on Tuesday. An Orion reporter set up an interview time with him on Wednesday, but Gentles did not attend. The Orion is waiting to hear back from Gentles.

College of Humanities and Fine Arts Senator:

Naomi Ramirez


Q: What makes you qualified for this position?

A: I have experience in this position from this year and already having some experience working with various leadership groups within our student community…(Also) the fact that I have been one of the most proactive people in the Senate (makes me qualified).

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: There’s a variety of issues that need to be addressed such as, student fees and raising tuition that we can help put a stance on for our college and our communities.

College of Natural Sciences Senator:

Lizzie Wilson

Photo credit: Rachael Bayuk

Q: What makes you qualified for this position?

A: I’m very involved on campus, I’m extremely passionate about my major. I’m a nutrition major and that’s one of the smaller majors with in the natural sciences college. Usually the senator have been more chemistry, biology, the bigger ones. Since I am from a smaller one my main goal is to create a more cohesive collaborative environment between all of the science majors so it’s not just based upon one or two.

Q: What are your main platform goals?

A: Like I said, just to make it a more cohesive collaborative environment I feel like there’s somewhat of a divide between some majors in the sciences.I want to show all majors that I’m not only focused on my major, nutrition, I want equal representation between them all. And like I said, a liaison. Students can come to me during my office hours and tell me any issues they see on campus or anything they want brought to the table during meetings, and I can do that for them.

Kelsi Sibert, Mathew Miranda, Lizzie Helmer, Grayson Boyer and Roberto Fonseca can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.