Opinion submission: Why diversity and inclusion matters in the upcoming ASUP election

By Annael Mejia | March 19, 2019 10:21am
Annael Mejia shares her experience at UP and why she believes that diversity and inclusion are important in this ASUP election.

Editor's Note: The Beacon publishing an opinion submission from an ASUP candidate does not mean The Beacon endorses that candidate. All candidates are welcome to submit opinion submissions of 600 words or less by March 24th at midnight. 

Do you remember the first day of your freshman year? Or the feeling of moving into your dorm room and starting brand new classes? 

The beginning of the college life is a roller coaster of emotions for many students. You might have experienced a few awkward and nerve-racking moments. However, there have also been fun and exciting times that stay in your heart. Have you ever thought about how these special and memorable moments came to be?

I am a first-generation Latina student; this background has placed me in the minority of UP’s student population. Being in this position has heavily influenced my college experience. Back home, I grew up in a community where most people were similar to me. However, transitioning to UP has introduced me to students who came from different backgrounds and shared new perspectives. 

Like many students, I struggled to adapt to the new environment and find a place where I felt comfortable. In the beginning, I was not involved in with many extracurricular activities and focused more-so on my academics. However, this slowly changed for me as I participated more in the FGEN mentorship program and met peers who shared my challenges. Through this program I met other first-generation students that helped create my place on campus.

You may or may have not had a similar experience. Adapting to the new environment college presents is not easy for everyone, but, as I have learned, that’s okay. We all eventually find that place, the group of friends that makes UP our home. 

For you, it may be the men’s soccer club, the Hawaii club or the Anime club. All these different clubs influence every aspect of a student’s college experience and are the source of diversity & inclusion that we witness on campus. 

Without the variety of events ASUP helps fund, our college experience would not allow us to become open-minded and be grateful for the differences that make us who we are. We would ignore and neglect the unique traits all students bring to our community. Together, all 94 organizations on campus expose us to diverse events that highlight what is great from every culture and personal celebration. 

Diversity and inclusion are important for the growth of the UP community. During my time at UP, I’ve seen organizations be established and empower students. For example, UPLift for Women gives female students the confidence to enter the intimidating weight room at Beauchamp, and Active Minds has increased our mental health awareness across campus. Although these organizations have supported and created awareness for many, I believe there is still room for growth. 

This is why I decided to run for ASUP’s director of finance. 

The passion that fuels my candidacy is my desire to support established clubs as well as new, small organizations that are trying to make their mark on our campus. Throughout my time on the Financial Management Board, I have supported multiple clubs and their events by voting to fund their opportunity grants. I want to continue to represent all Pilots and help build a strong community that embraces each other’s differences. 

Forty-five applications were submitted across all ASUP positions, and the race for director of finance is the most competitive position on the executive board with four runners. The individual in this position manages about a million dollars throughout the school year and decides how club funding is allocated. 

So, on March 26 and 27, don’t forget to vote for the candidates that care for your college experience, reflect your values and help make UP our home away from home.

Annual Mejia is a sophomore at UP and can be reached at mejiaa21@up.edu