At a recent Big Sky Conference Tournament PSU men’s basketball game last month at the Rose Garden, student body presidential candidate Christian Aniciete noticed something as he looked at the crowd. He thought, “Where’s the school pride? The great turnouts to cheer on the team?” What Aniciete observed that night echoed a change he wants to see around PSU–to bring students into a greater involvement with their campus community.
At a recent Big Sky Conference Tournament PSU men’s basketball game last month at the Rose Garden, student body presidential candidate Christian Aniciete noticed something as he looked at the crowd. He thought, “Where’s the school pride? The great turnouts to cheer on the team?”
What Aniciete observed that night echoed a change he wants to see around PSU–to bring students into a greater involvement with their campus community. Even more important, Aniciete said, is to empower students so that they realize they have the potential and ability to change things at PSU.
Aniciete is running under the “Empowerment” campaign, along with running mate Karla Hernandez for the upcoming ASPSU elections. The online-only voting through www.banweb.pdx.edu begins April 20 and ends April 26.
“It’s time to collaborate with students and empower them,” Aniciete said.
A main issue on their platform, the candidates say, is to educate students on how they can use their voice to make a difference on campus. Aniciete said many University Committee seats, which are available to students, remain vacant because of a lack of awareness about the positions being available. He cited this as an example of under-discussed issues that could benefit students.
The presidential hopefuls also said they would like to see more transparency in the actions of PSU’s student government.
Other issues on their platform include making the Millar Library open 24 hours a day during finals week, making mass transit more affordable by decreasing the TriMet FlexPass cost for students, and helping to reduce housing and other education costs.
Aniciete and Hernandez received the PSU Diversity Scholarship in 2005 and have worked together on student events such as Multicultural Center potlucks and the ROOTS Festival. They have been collaborating with various student groups, on and off, for the past few years.
Aniciete and Hernandez also both work at U.S. Bank, where Aniciete said he spends up to 25 hours a week earning extra money for tuition his scholarship does not cover.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Aniciete emigrated from Manila to the United States in 1997 after his mother petitioned the U.S. government to allow him and his brother to enter the country. He said he was very fortunate to grow up in a bicultural home.
“I utilize the Asian values like strong work ethic,” Aniciete said, “and American attitudes of individualism and pioneer mentality.”
Aniciete is president of KAIBIGAN, the PSU Filipino American student association, where he oversees about 50 student members and a budget of about $30,000. He said that his experience working with KAIBIGAN has given him the skills to be able to handle the commitment and leadership required of the ASPSU president.
Aniciete is also a student senator, and he said his experiences working with the senate have made him feel that certain changes should be made to compensate and motivate senators in order to improve their experiences.
Hernandez, who currently serves as a Student Fee Committee member, moved to the United States from Guatemala, and also shares a passion for student activism. She is co-coordinator of Las Mujeres, a group that advocates for Latina women on campus.
Both Aniciete and Hernandez said they want to make a lasting difference on the PSU campus by getting students to participate in activism and student groups.
Hernandez said that their campaign would raise this issue of uniting student groups with the whole university.
“We need to get rid of that gap,” Hernandez said.