Get to know your 2024-25 ASUP candidates

Voting starts March 19 on Engage

By Janea Melido | March 18, 2024 9:00am
ASUP elections start on March 19 on Engage. Graphic by Janea Melido.

It’s election season, and the Associated Students of the University of Portland (ASUP) elections are underway. Starting March 19 until March 20, students are able to vote on Engage.

The Beacon asked the 27 candidates of the upcoming ASUP elections the following questions.

  • What specific accomplishments set you apart from other candidates? 

  • If elected, what specific plans do you hope to achieve while you're in office? How will you reach these goals? 

Below are the responses from the candidates who wrote in. 

Position: ASUP President

Laya Duguid, sophomore (she/her)

Photo courtesy of Laya Duguid.

“I think something that sets Kainalu and I apart is that we both already serve as student representatives on the University of Portland National Alumni Board. We're already a part of formative conversations involving students and what they're needing. I believe both of us are in a unique position that could best serve the students if elected.

“We're really focused on working for the student body. Which means reaching out to clubs and exceeding their needs. We've already met with a few to get on track with helping them next year. A big need we've heard is student engagement. So we plan to reinstate a club conference, inviting club e-board members to participate in workshops (how to work Engage, how to table, how to market, etc.) led by faculty and students. We're also heavily focusing on career-readiness for students. So that looks like more internship fairs, skill-specific workshops, and connecting students with accomplished alumni. Kainalu and I, of course, would want to increase scholarships. For that to be possible we both know we have to do our best to increase enrollment and retention, which means pouring into our clubs and student careers.”

Aidan James Sanchez, sophomore (he/him)

Photo courtesy of Aidan Sanchez.

“For the past two years, it has been an honor to serve the class of 2026 on the ASUP Senate and I love our UP community. Now, I am hoping to serve our UP community in a greater capacity as your president. I have the experience and drive necessary to be the effective president all UP students deserve. Since my first day as a senator, I have been working to enhance the student experience on the Bluff. Last year, as a member of the Financial Management Board, many students reached out asking why their clubs received such large cuts. The fact was that we simply didn’t have the money. I chose to respond to this issue by proposing that we raise the student activities fee–arguably the only fee that we pay that directly goes back to us by $20. This proposal included students in the conversation, and with the support of a majority of students, it passed. Thanks to this proposal, our amazing student organizations and clubs will be able to apply for over $70,000 in additional funds next year. During my tenure, as the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, I have planned collaborations with athletics, planned our annual student flea market where students can buy and sell goods at the end of the year and my committee is currently working with the Health and Counseling Center to help promote their services to all students.

“If elected, I will be an advocate for all students at UP. I will continue to work for and with the student body on the issues that matter most. As president, I will recognize the partnership I have with each student and be transparent with what is happening around our University. A way of doing this will be the town halls and conversation nights that Steph and I plan to introduce. A number of key administrators on our campus have already expressed interest in collaborating with ASUP for these town halls. 

Something I think UP does best is our amazing student-led organizations and clubs. There is always an amazingly planned and fun event every week here on campus, and I know the feeling of not being able to make it to one event because it is double booked with another. That is why at the beginning of the year, I want to bring all student leaders together to a student leader summit where clubs can put their important dates on a master calendar. At this event, I will also invite important and useful departments like Bon Appetit, University Events, and the Office of Student Activities to present on their resources and offerings. 

"Finally, Steph and I are already working on one of our programs proposed in our campaign, a Basic Needs Program, a place on campus where all students, no questions asked, can get free food, hygiene projects and other essentials. 

“I believe that Steph and I have the experience necessary to lead our community next year. We know how the ASUP Senate operates, and I am confident that, with your support, we will be able to bring our visions to fruition. For more information on my campaign feel free to visit our instagram @sanchezvasquez4asup and our website.”

Position: ASUP Vice President 

Photo courtesy of Shannon Crosby.

Stephanie Vasquez, junior (she/her)

“I have been one of the senators for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) this year and I believe this experience is necessary for me to succeed in the role of ASUP Vice President. I co-hosted a successful CAS Townhall back in January, where a panel of deans and administrators from across CAS disciplinaries came together and answered student questions. I have been very vocal about my support for StockUP and have spent a lot of time researching how to get it started again. Because of my persistence we are now in communication with administration about possible next steps on furthering the program. Through my work as a member of the ASUP Student Affairs Committee, this past year I led the project of finding UP students access to a public pool when many of my friends, CAS members and students said this was something they were interested in. Because of this, UP students now have free access to the Matt Dishman Community Pool through their North Portland Pass!!! This pass also gives students access to free TriMet passes (check the ASUP Instagram for more info!). My experience, accomplishments and passion to help others is what ultimately sets me apart from the other candidates.

“Two of our main proposals that we are focusing on are creating a basic needs program and hosting a series of ASUP townhalls.  Starting a basic needs program is something that we are already talking about with administration and is something they are receptive to. I personally have had conversations with the founder of another university’s basic needs program, regarding how their program runs to make sure we are equipped to create a successful program for the student body. Having already hosted a town hall within the College of Arts and Sciences, I understand how important they are to have. We need to continue to create safe spaces for these open discussions between administration and the student body. Through my existing relationships with administration, we would be able to hold university wide town halls and will promote transparency and communication about topics that students have questions about. If elected we aim to be transparent with our constituents, foster a welcoming community, and advocate for our student’s needs.”

Position: Campus Program Board Director 

Photo courtesy of Chris Dobbins.

Chris Dobbins, junior (he/him)

"I have been in CPB since I was a freshman at UP and each year have learned new skills, made new friends, and led campus-wide events. Each year I have had a different role which has made me well versed in my ability to plan events.

"In the next year I want to increase engagement in events that attract the student body. I want to do this by getting more input from our students on what they would like to see! I hope to make this happen so that we can continue to have a vibrant community here at UP."

Position: Director of Communications

Photo courtesy of Sophia Olea VanCamp.

Sophia Olea VanCamp, junior (she/her)

“My journey at UP so far has been a mix of experiences that have shaped my understanding of DEIJ work, as well as community-organized work, on our campus. From being a social media coordinator for the Diversity Inclusions Program to being an eight-month CSWS intern through the Moreau Center, I've learned a lot about inclusive and equitable communication. As the current school of education senator, I've gotten a behind-the-scenes look at how ASUP works and what matters most to our fellow students. Building off of that experience as a senator I also am a member of the communications committee, so am already working within the realm of our social media and community presence on campus. For the past two years I have also been an anchor seminar workshop leader, which brings me a very unique perspective on how to reach out and communicate to first year students on campus. The position as an anchor leader has also sharpened my ability to facilitate engaging discussions — which I think is a perfect fit for the Director of Communications role! 

“If elected, I plan on focusing on our community not only in UP, but in the Portland-Metro Area. Collaboration is crucial, and I intend to strengthen connections between ASUP and various community members, including the faculty, staff, club leaders and the broader North Portland community. I am interested in doing community member and student highlights on our story to further community engagement. An example of this will be done through bringing back the week-long celebration DIP, originally hosted my first and second year here at UP, that highlighted the hardworking members of the Bon App and Physical Plant team. I would also love to have senators and e-board go out into the PDX community more through service projects or promotional campaigns/community highlights!”

Position: Pamplin School of Business Senator 

Rosana Gutierrez, sophomore (she/her)

Photo courtesy of Rosana Gutierrez.

“Hello I'm Rosana!

“I was lucky enough to serve UP as a business school senator this past school year. What sets me apart is my strive to serve not only PSOB students but all students at UP. This past semester I have worked as the chair of the Diversity and Social Responsibility Committee of ASUP. I also work closely with Dean DeVaughn, his leadership team and his advisory board. 

“What I hope to achieve next school year is really based on what I have achieved this past term. I want to continue to plan and host events that bring together students. I want to keep volunteering for campus events such as ticket sales and coat check at Dance of Decades, the Job and Internship fair, and ticket sales for Rock the Bluff. I also want to keep hosting town halls and other senate events. Most importantly I want to keep interacting with students. I want to table and chat during my office hours. ASUP doesn't exist without students. Hope to see all of you voting in the upcoming elections!”

Position: College of Arts and Sciences Senator 

Alex Benson, senior (he/him)

“Eagle Scout, innovation minor, art displayed in UP art show, interdisciplinary (started as engineer and successfully transferred to ENV).

“Mentorship Program: The mentorship program would connect upperclassmen with underclassmen, creating a support system that transcends academic boundaries.

“Professional Development Workshops: Organizing workshops that focus on developing essential skills for the workforce, including resume building, interview preparation, and networking strategies.

“Interdisciplinary Events: Hosting events that showcase the collaborative efforts of students from various disciplines, fostering a sense of community and appreciation for the diversity of talents within our college.

“I would accomplish these tasks through working with connections in the career center as well as the CAS department. These are all relatively simple ideas that can completely change the experience of a student and enhance the relationships in the UP community.”

Allana Gladman, first-year (she/her)

Photo courtesy of Allana Gladman.

“I would say a specific accomplishment that sets me apart from my other candidates is that I am currently in ASUP. I am already familiar with and aware of all things ASUP. I have closer connections with faculty and staff to problem solve and help improve the College of Arts and Sciences. I also have gained leadership skills through ASUP from being the freshman class senator for the 2023-2024 school year. With these skills, I can effectively voice the needs and opinions of students in all majors of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I have specific plans of holding a 24/7 feedback loop through my social media to ensure that any student in the College of Arts and Sciences can contact me with questions, comments, or concerns. I want to take the feedback from the student body and turn it into initiatives (town halls, conversation nights, CAS mixers, etc.) to advocate for the needs of CAS students. I hope to reach these goals by making sure students a part of the school feel comfortable enough to participate regardless of their major.”

Liam Rogan, junior (he/him)

"My leadership and dedication set me apart from other candidates. I’ve been on the student advisory board for the honors program, where I have advocated for my cohort, and helped develop exciting new programs for the honors program. I hope to bring this to the University of Portland as a whole. I also spent two months memorizing every country in the world, so when I set my mind to something, I will get it done. 

"If elected, I hope to bring the student body and ASUP closer together, and I hope to advocate for student clubs and organizations, so that they can continue to flourish and grow long after I have graduated. I will accomplish these goals by listening to and communicating with the student body and collaborating with my constituents in senate. 

"Also, I want to get that tv in the Franz basement up and running." 

Position: School of Education Senator

 Haniel E.T. Morquecho Beltran De la Cruz, junior (he/him)

Photo courtesy of  Haniel E.T. Morquecho Beltran De la Cruz.

“Hey everyone! My name is Haniel E.T. Morquecho Beltran De la Cruz (He/Him), your candidate for School of Education senator, where even though we may be small, our spirit packs a big punch.

“As an elementary education major with an endorsement in special education and a specialty in social and emotional learning I’m all about using education as a catalyst for a better, just and equitable world for everyone.

“I'm stoked to step into this leadership role and to do what I do best: leading with and for my community. Let's embark on this journey together, where every step we take is a step towards greatness. Let's turn the page to a new chapter where we all thrive.

“What sets me apart is my commitment to listening. I'm not just here to echo the sound of my own gavel ... Because let's be honest, in the School of Education, every voice matters! When it comes to reaching these goals? It’s all about COLLABORATION, my friend, in BIG, BOLD, and BEAUTIFUL letters! Because even when we feel like we're scrambling for the next exam, together, we can totally ace this thing called student government. So, let's unite, raise our voices and Make Education Great Again. With waves of change—one vote, one voice, one victory at a time.”

Position: School of Nursing Senator 

Nicole Cuevas, junior (she/her)

“I was honored to be one of the Nursing senators this school year for the first time, and it was quite a steep learning curve! However, I worked tirelessly to speak with nursing students about concerns and what changes they wanted to see implemented. I would bring these forward to faculty and the dean team to bridge the communication gap and offer ideas on solutions. I have created many connections through this process and during my first year as senator, and I would love to continue to use these connections and build even more another year! Since this will be my fourth year pursuing nursing here at UP, I have experience on what it is like to be in the program and I have heard about many others’ experiences as well. I know what students are needing from the program and I am dedicated to addressing these needs as well as any other needs that will arise.

“After many conversations with admin about what nursing students wish to see improved or changed in the nursing program, I have realized that there are many pre-existing resources out there and changes that have been implemented in response to concerns. The issue is that students are not aware of this and therefore cannot benefit from them. If elected, I plan on bridging the communication gap from admin to students. One of the ways I will do this is by creating informational town halls throughout the semesters to address relevant concerns, share resources, and share what projects are in progress. I have spent much time creating a town hall for this semester (that will be happening soon!) and I am confident that if elected again, I can make town halls a regular occurrence and something that we will all greatly benefit from!”

Photo courtesy of Nmachukwu Ukaegbu.

Nmachukwu Ukaegbu, first year (she/her)

​​”I am thrilled to introduce myself as a candidate for the position of senator of the School of Nursing in our esteemed student government known as ASUP. My name is Nmachukwu Ukaegbu, and I am deeply passionate about representing our diverse student body and advocating for positive change within our campus community. Throughout my time here at UP, I have been actively involved in various clubs and organizations, gaining valuable leadership experience and a deep understanding of the issues that affect us all. From organizing events to volunteering in community service projects, I have always been dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those around me.

“If elected, I am committed to listening to your concerns and working tirelessly to address them. Whether it's improving campus facilities, promoting inclusivity and diversity, or enhancing academic support services, I will strive to ensure that every student's voice is heard and valued. I believe that together, we can create a vibrant and inclusive campus community where every student has the opportunity to thrive. With your support, I am confident that we can make meaningful progress and leave a lasting impact on our school.

“Thank you for considering me as your representative. Let's work together to make our vision for a better UP a reality."

Position: Senior Class Senator

Ben Carey-DiGregorio, junior (he/him)

Photo courtesy of Ben Carey-DiGregorio.

“This year in ASUP I had the privilege of being the chair of the academic affairs committee. In this role I have had the chance to work with university administration throughout different channels, such as being a student member on university committees, for example, being the student member on the AI Syllabus Subcommittee. Because of this, I know how to navigate through the UP administration to get projects going and how to start in the right place with them. 

“The specific plan I hope to accomplish this coming year is to work on ways to make academics and extracurricular experiences the best they can possibly be. Part of this is looking at resources students commonly use (such as the library or learning commons) and seeing what ways ASUP can support them. The way that I see myself doing this is to simply continue the work I have done over the past year but with the added experience of having served on senate so that I can hit the ground running.”

Position: Junior Class Senator

Photo courtesy of Mason Dinsmore.

Mason Dinsmore, sophomore (he/him)

“I've already made a name for myself in student government through my work in the Academic Affairs Committee, which works to address student’s academic needs by coordinating with faculty, student government and students themselves. I've worked on legislation which directly benefited students. For example, last semester I helped with a bill that extended library hours during dead week and finals week, as well as provided the necessary staffing and funding to do so. I believe I have more to offer this school and its students and would be honored to serve as your senator.

“I want to increase ASUP cooperation with student-run committees, which would give students a greater opportunity to have their voice heard and to increase their influence on the way their school is run. This will lead to greater plurality, and a more representative senate. The first step in doing this would be to increase awareness. I will support efforts — both online and in person — to inform students about the various committees on campus, what they do and how they can benefit students.”

Shane Ruyle, sophomore (he/him)

Photo courtesy of Shane Ruyle.

“I served as sophomore senator prior to studying abroad this spring. During that time, I served as the Diversity and Social Responsibility Committee Chair. I wrote and passed legislation to begin the process of adding gender identity to UP's nondiscrimination policy. I started the process of adding SNAP as an accepted form of payment in Mack's Market. I began working on a project to add accessibility door buttons to bathrooms across campus. And I facilitated a diversity and social responsibility conversation night to unify activism, organizing, and community betterment projects across campus. Outside of ASUP, I have worked as an intern for federal Senator Jeff Merkley and currently work as a care counselor at a youth shelter, along with several other mutual aid projects and volunteer staff positions. I have years of experience in community organizing and social services that enable me to uniquely work with marginalized groups on and off campus.

“If elected, I will continue DSR work as my first priority. This includes continuing the aforementioned projects in accessibility, the nondiscrimination policy and economic access. I look for areas in which students are struggling and unheard, and try to address it! I hope to be a point of contact for anyone who feels disenfranchised on this campus like I have, and am happy to use the privileges of my condition to start a project with you. My focus will always be basic rights for all before luxuries for some, while also working to support my fellow senators who focus on amazing events, extra programming and fun!”

Position: Sophomore Class Senator

Photo courtesy of Faith Crane.

Faith Crane, first year (she/her)

“I accepted a job at the beginning of this semester, and it has forced me to truly focus on my time management. I have really worked on how to balance many things and I believe this is a vital skill to have not only in college but also life past graduation. 

“My plans for office if elected revolve around improving communication between faculty and students. I can serve as a passageway and bring up the uncomfortable questions my constituents give me to create a smoother flow of communication. I will do this by creating a safe environment for constituents to complain or suggest things that I can then bring to faculty attention and work to solve.”

Paris Tran, first-year (she/her)

Photo courtesy of Paris Tran.

“As a candidate, I aim to improve student life and the diversity, equality and inclusion on campus. To do this, I will be open to new perspectives and ideas. Help everyone feel welcome and comfortable in an inclusive environment and create a community where everyone can express themselves and their opinions without criticism. My aim for ASUP will be to help improve student life by providing more chances for students to speak up and organize more campus activities to increase student participation and socialization in the community. For example, implementing anonymous questionnaires in dorms allows students to express their opinions about their living arrangements openly. Then, I will be presented to the appropriate audience to enhance and repair issues as needed.”

Janea Melido is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at