By Connie Lee, Aug. 30, 2022
Diana Aguilar-Cruz, a biology student at Cal Poly Pomona, was appointed as the California State University Student Trustee on June 1, 2022. Aguilar-Cruz was appointed as one of 25 members responsible for serving CSU’s 477,000 students for a two-year term from 2022 to 2024.
As a student trustee, Aguilar-Cruz, 20, is responsible for creating new policies and ensuring the well-being of every student, faculty and staff in the CSU system is considered. She is also allowed to visit all 23 of the CSU campuses to ask students, faculty and staff to ask if they have any questions or concerns about how to advocate better for the CSU community.
As the newly appointed CSU Student Trustee, Aguilar-Cruz plans to focus on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The five-level pyramid include physiological, safety, love and belonging needs, esteem and self-actualization.
“I want to focus on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs because we cannot be expecting our students to graduate in four years when they have not accomplished or fulfilled the needs to fulfill self-actualization,” said Aguilar-Cruz. “We need to focus on making sure that our students have shelter, that they are fed and that our students feel safe when they go on campus or when they see the campus police, that they are not scared and can go to them for help and feel like they belong in the university.”
She aims to focus on the basic needs for low-income students who need emergency housing, along with ensuring that campus police receive proper training to make CSU communities feel safe. She is also advocating for undocumented students’ rights to ensure work permits and allowing them to live their dream to pursue higher education.
Aguilar-Cruz’s served as the ASI Officer of Academic Affairs and is a member of the CPP Pre-Medical Student Association, Mexican-American Student Association, Delta Epsilon Mu, as well as a participant in CPP Achieve Scholars Program and student advisor for Hermana Unidas.
“The one that contributed the most to my new position was ASI student government, specifically the position that I had,” said Aguilar-Cruz. “As an officer of academic affairs, I was able to serve in the senate. And what the senate does is like a small board of trustees for CPP, and it allowed me to be in a room with professionals and allowed me to be in that environment, how to present myself and how to vote.”
One of Aguilar-Cruz’s many leadership experiences includes her volunteer organization, Nezahualcóyotl — the land of the hungry coyote. This organization allows her to assist high school students lower their tuition costs, apply for scholarships and contests, complete their FASFA/Dream Act applications, help students to get into the workforce without trouble and to help guide students into higher education beyond high school.
“Our mission is to assist underrepresented students achieve their dreams of obtaining an undergraduate degree,” said Aguilar-Cruz. “By fostering the idea that everything is possible with passion, humbleness and perseverance.
Aguilar-Cruz’s process on being appointed for this position, started with an interview panel of student presidents from all the CSU’s. She was then progressed to the California Governor’s Office where Gov. Gavin Newsom officially appointed Aguilar-Cruz on June 1.
The California State Student Association, along with a panel of 25 CSU Campus Representatives, were present in Aguilar-Cruz’s interview. The interviewers interviewed her goals and expectations as the new CSU Student Trustee.
Along with the CSU position, Aguilar-Cruz plans to conduct three research projects this upcoming semester. These include research in Alzheimer’s disease with Dr. Glenn Kageyama, professor of cell biology and neuroscience, research in organic chemistry with Dr. Alex John, professor in chemistry and biochemistry and research in Gestational Diabetes in the homeless population with the INSAN Foundation’s INSAN for Humanity. She is also planning to be a mentor for the CPP SEES Program this school year.
Aguilar-Cruz’s parents were both college educated and inspired her to continue her education and be confident in her dreams She is currently aspiring to become pediatric surgeon, as well as obtaining her master’s in public health and a medical degree at Stanford.
As a first-generation student in the United States, Aguilar-Cruz plans to give back to not only her family, but also to her community to share her experience with others and emphasize how important it is to pursue any dream that they may have.
“Being a first-generation student has allowed me to want to fight for others that are also first-generation students and do not have the same privilege that I do,” said Aguilar-Cruz. “I always say that I am for the people, by the people and for the people.”
To learn more about the CSU Trustee’s system, the campus community can visit their website.
Feature image courtesy of Diana Aguilar-Cruz.
Show Comments (0)