ASU Election kicks off with virtual forum

Valley’s student government is up for re-election for the 2021-2022 school year.

By Angela Thompson, Cassandra Nava and Matthew Royer, Staff Writers

Ethan Shalom is running for commissioner of student life in the upcoming ASU election. Friday, April 16, 2021 (Photo by Solomon O. Smith/The Valley Star)

Valley hosted their annual “Student Trustee and Local Election Candidates Forum” via Zoom on Wednesday, April 21. Out of 11 candidates, the seven who attended stated why they should be elected.

The public forum was hosted by Commissioner of Political Affairs Luoi Sabha. The seven candidates were given five minutes to share their visions of where they plan to take the college. There are three open ASU positions: vice president, parliamentarian and commissioner of fine arts. Following the candidates speeches, students were able to ask questions.

Sabha started proceedings for the official ASU candidates to give their speeches on why the student body should elect them. The forum began with those who caucused for president.

Emily Gutierrez is running for commissioner of publicity and social media in the upcoming ASU election. Friday, April 16, 2021 (Photo by Solomon O. Smith/The Valley Star)

First-year political science major Sandra Sanchez spoke first and laid out her goals if elected to the position.

“Getting involved with what students really need and want is what the [ASU] should be doing,” said ASU presidential candidate Sanchez. “Running for student government will help students' voices be heard and help them get what they want.”

Sanchez currently serves as a student ambassador on Valley’s campus and worked in the community amassing more than 300 hours in volunteer work at Kaiser Permanente.

Presidential candidate and Promise Program student Vardan Tonakanyan presented a slideshow of his plans if elected. In his presentation, he mistakenly identified himself as a candidate for commissioner of political affairs but later clarified his position. Tonakanyan plans to focus on engaging with students to prevent low rates of attendance by finding new “financial help and job opportunities.” He described why he should be president, stating that he has previous “knowledge in communities, educational awareness” and his desire to aid students to “succeed” in their “dreams.”

“I love being active and a part of a community,” said Tonakanyan. “Because I believe the group works together to make the world a better place.”

Candidates for the commissioner of publicity and social media shared why they are running for the position. Emily Gutierrez, who is majoring in elementary teaching education, is the incumbent commissioner. According to Gutierrez, her consistent Instagram posts have seen an 114 percent increase in followers, which is equal to about 30 new followers a month.

Shoshana Cassell is running for commissioner of publicity. Friday, April 16, 2021 (Photo by Solomon O. Smith/The Valley Star)

Shoshana “Shani” Cassell, the current ASU vice president and business administration major, is running for the position as well. Cassell stated that in order to keep students informed she would update the school’s social media accounts weekly.

Out of 11 positions total, four candidates did not attend: Giovanni Divaia, who is running for treasurer; Commissioner of Campus Environmental Affairs candidate Joseph Cassell; Commissioner of Ethnic and Cultural Affairs candidate Lauren Lucas; and Commissioner of Health and Wellness candidate Eiran Shalom.

Voting for ASU officers and commissioners starts on April 26 through April 30. Students will receive an email with instructions on how to vote through the SIS portal. There will be a Zoom meeting revealing the election results on May 7 at 1 p.m. The ASU page on Valley’s website will update the ‘ASU Election’ tile to display the results.