Matthew Alan Arrollado wears crocs to Associated Students Senate meetings, cracks jokes about racecar beds with buddies from the ERC Student Council, and takes serious issue with a lack of transparency in student government.
Arrollado, a marine biology major and the current AS Senator for Eleanor Roosevelt College, is running for Vice President of Campus Affairs on THRIVE. His platform centers on creating transfer student success initiatives, expanding student development through promoting and expanding resources, and strengthening communication between AS and the student body.
“Anything said on the senate floor, out of closed session, should be public,” he said. “I feel like a lot of the time decisions are made on the fourth floor and then they stay on the fourth floor, unless there’s a controversy.”
He is cognizant of the fact that AS meeting minutes are not currently being updated on the AS website, making it difficult for students to track decisions. He intends to make sure that the website is updated, ensuring that minutes are publicly available.
Prior to being a Senator, Arrollado also has experience on the Student Council of ERC as the Director of Publicity. Drawing from this experience, he suggests beyond minutes, AS should establish the position of press secretary to streamline communication.
“Right now, if you try to get info from AS, you see a roster of about fifty people and it can be hard to know who to contact and who’s going to respond to you,” he said. His idea is that a press secretary would be an all-purpose point of contact, who would make the process of getting information clearer.
“Some of the inner workings [of AS] can be very confusing,” Arrollado said. “So having someone who is experienced with AS but values student journalism is important in my book. That can help with communication to the greater campus.”
Arrollado, although not a transfer student himself, he is concerned that transfer students in particular lack adequate access to important information. He noted that community colleges often have resources preparing students for transferring out, but once those students arrive at UCSD, “it’s like you were dropped into a pool and it’s sink or swim.”
He feels that issues of accessibility and knowledge of resources are magnified for transfer students, who generally attend the university for a shorter amount of time.
“We don’t prioritize our transfer students in this campus as much as we do our first years, who have so much more time on campus to learn the functioning,” Arrollado said. “All these resources are available, but if you don’t know about them then you can’t use them.” He listed Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC) as examples of resources he feels it is important for students to be aware of.
Arrollado also served on the All-Campus Commuter Board. To address these issues, Arrollado intends to work towards establishing a Transfer Resource Center. He says that starting a work group dedicated to that goal will be one of his top priorities. He also wants to expand the student success program, identifying that there are too few directors currently, given the number of transfer students at the university.
Additionally, within AS, Arrollado wants to mimic the high level of engagement the College Councils have with their constituencies, with things like Know Your Council weeks.
“Speaking from first-hand experience, I have seen the high level of engagement that the college councils have with their respective constituencies,” Arrollado said. “This past year, I have attended a majority of the events organized by the Office of College Affairs in my capacities as the ERC AS Senator, where my role focuses more on the ERC side rather than the AS side, and I think seeing more engagement from AS would be a great first step.”
Arrollado hopes to create more spaces for AS members and members of college councils to speak with one another, so the college senators on AS are not the only link between them. This is consistent with his philosophy generally, which calls for increased conversations between AS and different groups on campus.
“I think one of my biggest strengths is being able to have those dialogues with basically any type of student and be encouraging of their self-agency to speak out but also being able to speak my own point of view without shutting someone else down,” he said.
Arrollado is running unopposed for the position of Vice President of Campus Affairs and he’s prepared for the possibility that he’ll be working with executives who are not members of his slate. From the beginning, the members of THRIVE knew that they would be working with people who had not run with them, given that they are not running a full slate of candidates.
“Especially for my position where I oversee all senators, it is critical that you leave elections at the end of elections … Being able to move past is something of a priority for me,” Arrollado said.
The 2017-18 AS elections are scheduled for April 10 through 14. Polling stations and online voting will close Friday at 4 p.m.
Natasha Vyhovsky is a staff writer for The Triton. Jaz Twersky contributed reporting to this story.