Colorado College Student Government Association President Alejandro Salazar and the rest of the CCSGA executive council have set ambitious goals for themselves this year. Salazar, whose third-year schedule is peppered with neuroscience classes, feels good about his and his colleagues’ leadership and abilities.
Salazar, a junior from Aurora, Colorado, gave each Executive Council Vice President his or her charge (what he would like the VP to accomplish) in CCSGA’s first full executive council meeting yesterday.
CCSGA executive council consists of Salazar and four Vice-Presidents: Abe Mamet, VP for Outreach, Mayss Al-Alami, VP for Student Concerns, Samantha Albert, VP of Internal Affairs, and Erik Laitos, VP for Finance.
“We just had our first 21-year-old,” said Salazar in an interview on Tuesday referring to Erik Laitos, a senior, who recently turned 21. Salazar, who is living in an off-campus apartment this year, is the only junior on the council. Laitos and Albert are the only seniors on the council. Al-Alami and Mamet are both sophomores.
Salazar’s charge for Mamet is to get more CC students downtown and engaging with the local community. He mentioned junior Andy Post’s efforts in working with local food organizations as an example of the type of engagement he would like to see.
He would like Al-Alami to focus on mental health and sexual health awareness initiatives, perhaps reigniting Courageous Conversations, a discussion forum Salazar led with two colleagues last year that served as a space for students to engage in honest dialogue about things “people don’t usually talk about,” like race and discrimination, topics that were on the forefront of many students’ minds at the end of last year, broached largely by a Cipher article that sought to amplify many of the unheard yet upset voices on campus.
CCSGA is also looking into participating in a nationwide campaign that will address sexual abuse on college campuses.
Mental health, another major concern from last year, will also be a priority for Salazar and the rest of CCSGA.
As for Internal Affairs, Salazar would like Albert to focus on student group chartership, the process by which student clubs and organizations receive recognition, and consequently, funding.
“This year we’re going to make it easier for clubs to get started. Normally it’s a two-year wait period but we’re going to bring it down to a year or less.” Next block’s freshman elections are also a priority for Albert.
As for the financial side of things, Salazar, who served as VP for Finance last year, charged Laitos to work towards financial accessibility for all students.
Addressing the disparity between how students from different socioeconomic backgrounds spend their block breaks, Salazar allocated ten thousand dollars to outdoor education to start a financial aid program at the end of last year.
“The last time I heard they were proposing to use two thousand dollars to give three scholars 75 percent coverage of pretty much anything,” said Salazar.
Salazar also mentioned the creation of block break getaways by the Sociology Department and Dean’s Office last year, featuring daytrips for students without the funds to go on more lavish block-break trips.
Salazar said that he is most excited for the changes that have already been enacted this year, one of which being the movement of several offices (President’s, Business, Financial Aid) to the newly renovated Spencer Center.
“They made a trifecta where the financial aid office and the student account office and another one are all together so students don’t have to go on a wild goose chase to find something out,” said Salazar.
Salazar is also excited about the renaming of the Office of International and Minority Students to the Butler Center. Although alumni of color have already spoken out against the change, Salazar believes it is a step in the right direction. By changing its name, said Salazar, the office is also realigning its focus to serve all underrepresented students, not just those who are minorities or international.
Butler is Ulysses Butler, one of the first black students to attend CC who made a large alumni donation, according to Salazar. “Even though he [Butler] felt marginalized and didn’t really like his experience at CC, he wanted to make things more welcoming for different students. So he had a great mission but a lot of alumni of color don’t know that,” said Salazar, referring to the complaints he has heard about the office’s changed named.
Salazar said he looks forward to the event Andy Post is putting together later this block, which will feature several student bands.
*An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Samantha Albert is a junior. She is a senior. The mistake has been fixed in the online version.