Meet this year’s student association president, Alexander (Alex) Chuquimia. If you told him his freshman year that he would be SA president his senior year he would not have believed you. Previously being a part of the student senate, Alex was encouraged to run for SA but never saw himself doing that. After taking a leap of faith last school year, he became executive VP and moved to a bigger role for his last hurrah at PUC. Now, as Alex finishes his pre-medicine degree, he loves being PUC’s SA president.
Tell us about being SA President.
I love being in this role! By being the SA President, I have had the privilege of building connections with a diverse group of driven individuals, many of whom I might not have crossed paths with otherwise. Through my tenure as the SA President, I have practiced the soft skills of leadership- including effective communication and time management. I know these invaluable qualities will serve to enrich my personal and professional life for years to come.
What motivated you to run for President?
If you told me I was going to be SA President when I was a freshman, I would not have believed you. The first person that encouraged me to run for SA was my friend Aileen when I was in the Student Senate. She advised me to run for the office of the SA Executive VP, a role I originally could not see myself in. But I took a leap of faith in that opportunity and ultimately enjoyed that role. Last year, I was again encouraged by others to run for the office of SA President. This time, I was more confident in what I was doing.
Leaders are not always sure of themselves at first. If you have any desire to lead, you should act on it. If SA does not seem like your jam, join a club! Or join Intramurals and be part of a sports team! All these roles will teach you crucial skills that will prepare you for the future.
What to you is the most important role or duty as President?
My most important role as President is being there for the other SA officers. In my role this year, I have been an advisor and teacher, giving pointers and voicing my thoughts on things. Typically, the SA President has the most experience in a new SA team; therefore, they tend to be in the best position to provide other members of the SA with help. However, the President is also tasked with various committees and special projects that occur behind the scenes.
What is your leadership philosophy?
My leadership philosophy in SA has been to prioritize the students’ viewpoint over anything else. Essentially, students are my focus. The Preamble of the SA Constitution and Bylaws states that SA exists to “represent the needs of the student body.” In other words, your SA officers are here for you if you need anything at all!
What do you enjoy the most about being a part of SA?
What I most enjoy about being in SA is my team. Though the official roles stay relatively consistent from year to year, the dynamic of the SA team changes. I often bounce ideas off Natalia Gomez, our PR/Marketing VP, and she gives the best feedback. JR Rogers, our sponsor and advisor, can take any idea I have for the campus and formulate it into a plan. He has been a huge help to us with basically everything. Emily Smith, our Executive VP and future doctor, manages a 17+ person Senate, encouraging them to fulfill our SA mission in representing student needs. Paola Velazquez, our Financial VP, keeps us on budget and is super timely. Keren Castro, our Photographer, is present at SA events snapping photos and spreading her contagious laughter. Eden Salazar, our Social VP, is receptive to our ideas on fun events for students and is a great communicator. Ashley Castro-Rodriguez, our Religious VP, is always on top of things, managing our weekly Vespers programs and the Campus Ministries social media page. Fabiola Ixcot and Marguerite McHenry, our Co-Videographers, bring humor and creativity to our meetings through their comedic timing and the fun films they produce. Adwoa Appiah-Boateng, our secretary with a great sense of humor, provides a valuable voice and freshman perspective in our meetings. I feel privileged to be a part of this year’s story, with such a dynamic group of individuals. I am grateful to my team for everything they have done this year and everything they have helped me to do, as well as those things we have yet to do!
Do you have a favorite SA event?
My favorite SA event has to be the Spring Banquet! It is basically our trademark event and an event most people will remember after college. Students dress up fancily and gather to celebrate the year’s memories. There is always so much life around the Spring, too, as the campus warms up and the flowers bloom. The Poor Man’s Banquet is my other favorite event which is hosted in the Winter quarter. Last year we went to Six Flags, which was a lot of fun!
How can students have their voices and concerns heard by the student leaders on campus?
If a student has an idea or concern, they can always get in touch with me or with any SA officer! Oftentimes, a specific student concern is addressed by one senator. That senator will write up a Senate bill that will be voted on by student senators. If the vote passes, the Administration will review it and determine whether or not to approve it. Many bills end up affecting daily campus life: the frozen yogurt machine in the Grind is one example!
Can you share any events that will be happening this quarter?
We have our yearly SA banquet coming up on Sunday, May 21 at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena! We are currently selling tickets for students. Follow us @puc.sa on Instagram for timely updates and an opportunity to win free tickets!
What are your favorite things about PUC?
What I love most about PUC is the people. In general, the students and staff around campus are friendly, and all of my professors are there to provide help when needed. The one-on-one time you get with professors is something you would not get at larger institutions. Another one of my favorite things about PUC is the surrounding flora! In past years, I often hiked the Back 40 with friends to Inspiration Point and took in the view after a good workout. I also love the religious aspect of PUC, with its lively community church and its focus on one’s relationship with God. Throughout my time here, I have had many opportunities to be part of praise teams and worship programs—even a worship trip to Texas!—which were all blessings and provided me with good memories.