“If I ask you to make a PB&J sandwich, everyone here will have a different way of making a PB&J sandwich, right?”
This is how Gus Guerrero jokingly explained student government. He believes that although different student leaders will have different approaches to student government, they will all end up with the same sandwich.
Although he may be the self-described “dude on the library walk with the red windbreaker and stickers,” Guerrero is also the current President of Muir College Council. Counter to his relaxed composure, Guerrero is running as a serious candidate for President in the 2017-18 Associated Students (AS) election season.
Guerrero’s platform focuses on unifying the campus, as well as alleviating disparity between student government and the student body. Guerrero believes that the current council stays on the fourth floor of the Price Center without actively reaching out to students beyond Library Walk. He thinks that even if the students are highly involved on campus, they are often clueless of the existence and purpose of student government.
In order to combat this, he plans to implement more outreach by tabling in each college and meet as many students as he possibly can, as he demonstrates in his interview project.
To see what an “average student” knows about the student government and what they want and need, Guerrero has been conducting interviews which can be found on his Facebook page. If elected, he also plans to utilize a Facebook page to highlight AS budget fundings and meeting agendas including reports of progress that elected officials are making to increase transparency.
Guerrero believes that the past AS was successful in accommodating students’ basic needs with the newly renovated Triton Food Pantry and the newly established basic needs center. However, Guerrero found fault with their promise to improve major parking issues on campus, suggesting they should have focused more on transportation as a whole.
“I think parking is something that we cannot control with constructions continuing, but transportation is something we can control,” Guerrero said.
As a commuter, Guerrero believes that the campus needs to invest in a better transportation system and plans to fix long lines for buses and dark MTS bus stops that discourage students from using the transportation. He emphasized the need for accessibility and renovation for recreational spaces and study spaces like Geisel Library, the Biomedical Library, RIMAC, and Main Gym. To promote these spaces, Guerrero created a guide for students that doubles as campaign material.
Guerrero plans to support undocumented students as he believes that student body cannot prosper unless all students are supported. “My commitment to them [undocumented students] is to make sure they are being heard by students, by administrators, and by me… I think it should be a priority. We students can’t really be succeeding if our neighbors are failing.”
In terms of student protest, Guerrero believes in students’ right to freely express their concern. He states that his job entails communicating with the administrators to convey student body’s frustration, and to discuss solutions or methods to “make them care.”
Although Guerrero is running as an independent candidate, he is confident in his various experiences and knowledge on campus.
“I hope people realize that you do not need to be hand selected by a slate; you can run on your own if you want to make a difference on campus,” Guerrero said. “I understand the marketing aspect of the slates, but in the end it’s the individuals and the ideas that are strongest. You should win because you are the best candidate for the job.”
The 2017-18 AS elections are scheduled for April 10 through 14. Polling stations and online voting will close Friday at 4 p.m.
Sylvia O is a staff writer for The Triton.