Rising junior prioritizes mental health, inclusion
May 26, 2017
Rising junior Samantha Pérez is eager to get to the bottom of prevalent campus issues as the new Associated Student Government (ASG) vice president.
Serving as the senator for mental health and violence prevention this year, Pérez has experience dealing with sensitive issues.
“The highlight of ASG is the capacity for change that you have the ability to make,” Pérez said. “You’re connected with a lot of administrators and a lot of students that you otherwise might not have connected with, and I think that that’s a really good segue to making the school a better place in the ways that you see fit.”
Pérez is a Bay Area native, hailing from San Mateo, CA. She is double majoring in political science—with a pre-law emphasis—and English, in addition to a minor in philosophy.
Pérez also never wears matching socks because, according to her, it’s bad luck.
Pérez is keen on following through on promises she and newly-elected ASG president, Jack Herstam, made during their campaign.
“We made a lot of promises during that week, like our five platform items, and I really want to see those things happen,” Pérez said. “I think students deserve to see those things happen.”
These five platform ideas are categorized as campus climate, athletics, transparency, diversity and inclusion and mental health.
One issue Pérez and Herstam disagree on is Turning Point USA. Pérez continues to stand firm in her stance against it.
“I think that an economic conservatism club isn’t a bad idea in itself, but I don’t know that TPUSA was the correct vehicle to go about that,” Peréz said. “At the end of the day there are students who are represented in TPUSA and I recognize that as a way for students to get involved.”
In light of the TPUSA decision, Pérez mentioned the lack of communication between members of ASG and the administration. ASG was given no prior information of the administration’s decision to allow TPUSA as an RSO.
Once ASG’s decision was overturned in regards to TPUSA, a resolution was written to ensure that if a situation similar to the TPUSA decision occurs in the future, the administration will be obligated to notify ASG prior to the general student body.
During campaign week, Pérez visited the Muslim Student Association and asked what ASG can do for that group of students on campus.
In response, a representative within ASG dedicated to interfaith was requested. The first tangible change that has been made is the creation of an interfaith senator position.
Pérez is also dedicated to improving on a working relationship with the Multicultural Center (MCC).
“I want to have a better relationship with the MCC where we’re elevating them and supporting them without trying to take over or take their ideas,” Pérez said.
When it comes down to it, Pérez continues to be committed to improving upon mental health issues on campus.
As the senator for mental health and violence prevention, Pérez’s most recent ASG initiative has been to improve the university’s consent training program.
Currently, the film” Can’t Thread a Moving Needle” is the university’s main program.
She highlighted that the use of satire in the film appeared to make fun of the subject, and the lack of LGBTQIA students featured was troubling.
Although Pérez faced a great deal of pushback on making this change, this upcoming school year will be the last time Santa Clara shows “Can’t Thread a Moving Needle.” This next year will be spent finding a new program that has more longevity and relevance.
As a senator this past year, she gained insight on the gaps Santa Clara still has in regards to mental health. Pérez thinks there is more Santa Clara can be doing for its students and ASG wants to help with that.
“We represent the students,” Peréz said. “We’re not afraid to make that known.”
Contact Meghan McLaughlin at email@example.com.