Christa Kelly, Staff Writer
On the morning of April 18, Augsburg students received the results of the Day Student Government elections; Arianna Antone-Ramirez and Lucía Dávila Álvarez were elected as the new president and vice president for the 2019–2020 school year. Per Antone-Ramirez, she and Álvarez are the first all-female ticket to serve as president and vice president and Antone-Ramirez is the first Native student to serve as Augsburg Day Student President.
Antone-Ramirez and Álvarez are already embracing their roles by connecting with students and preparing projects for the upcoming year. Though they cautioned that it is too early to finalize plans, there are still key moves that they plan to take that they are excited to share with Augsburg students.
Antone-Ramirez and Áarez plan to focus on visibility during their time leading student government. After both having served in student government Antone-Ramirez says that they have “seen what’s working and what’s not.” They have a number of steps planned to boost transparency. Among these possible steps are advertising meetings and committees, writing columns for “The Echo,” increasing communication with students and releasing a monthly newsletter. “We’re going to do a 180 on PR,” Álvarez says.
But their plans for visibility go beyond increasing communication between students and the student government. They also want to focus on bringing visibility to seemingly unapproachable or forgotten parts of the community. Álvarez says that part of this involves “building a more concrete relationship between students and administrators.” She and Antone-Ramirez believe that a “power gap” exists and they seek to make starting conversations between the two groups easier. “We’re part of the same community,” Antone-Ramirez says. “We all want to see it grow.”
To bridge the divide, they discussed arranging regular town hall meetings. These meetings would bring students, faculty and administrators together and allow students to voice concerns and ask questions. They hope that these meetings could be held twice a semester. Though they say that the concept is “still in the works,” they believe it would be beneficial to the students as a place where “our voices can be heard.”
This visibility also seeks to reach students that may sometimes feel forgotten such as transfer students. Álvarez emphasized the importance of hearing their voices. “They need a seat at the table,” she says. “It’s hard coming to a new community and a new environment and not feeling involved.”
Also included in their desire to increase visibility are some Augsburg programs. They want to ensure that opportunities and information about resources such as the Strommen Center and the Center for Wellness and Counseling (CWC) reaches all students, particularly commuters who don’t often have reasons to enter the Christensen Center. “Even those ten sessions do so much,” Alvarez says. “Students don’t take advantage of that enough.”
Both Antone-Ramirez and Álvarez see the CWC as a resource that deserves more attention. “We know the struggle,” Alvarez says. “The stress, the anxiety . . . we force ourselves to focus on mental health.” She says that this is especially important when you’re in a leadership position.
Perhaps most important was increasing the visibility of the students themselves. “We need everyone’s voice,” Antone-Ramirez says. “We try to get as many diverse voices as we can.” She urges students to attend student government meetings. Meetings take place on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in the Marshall Room. “Everything is public.”
Both the newly elected president and vice president say that they have many more ideas than they have time to speak about. “There are a million more things that didn’t make the list,” Antone-Ramirez says. As of right now, they are first focusing on small steps.
“What do we want to leave at the end of our term?” she asked. “We want to be accessible. We want to be familiar faces.”
“Until they’re sick of seeing us,” Álvarez said, laughing.
This article was originally published in the April 26, 2019 issue.
Ariana Antone-Ramirez is sworn in as ADSG President. Photo by Nancy Huynh.