A slow and methodical movement with their #ItsTimeTo campaign hashtag is how Presidential Candidate Matthew Gonzales and Vice Presidential Candidate Alison Castillo plan to run their campaign in this election season.
The Gonzales-Castillo campaign outlined their platform to focus on under-represented students through interpersonal connections and specific policy ideas including a Know Your Rights initiative to educate students, increasing student-worker wages, new Student Government councils, more Bobcat shuttles, working with local government and hiring more diverse faculty.
Gonzales is the current chief of staff and Castillo is the current vice president, and they believe their experience in Student Government would be an asset if elected into new positions considering Gonzales’ chief of staff work has shown him the policy and administrative side of Student Government following his start last June.
“It (takes a long time) to get new (student government officials) to understand how to fulfill their positions and (Castillo and me) know it like the back of our hands,” Gonzales said. “So whenever we go in next year, it’d be a seamless transition and we can get straight on to what we want to do.”
The proposed Know Your Rights initiative would show students the rights they already have but often forget or don’t know such as immigration, housing and Miranda rights. Additionally, sex trafficking, sexual assault, mental health awareness and suicide prevention are also areas Castillo has been informing herself on in order to educate other students.
“It’s unfortunate, but a lot of us are uninformed when we step into college and we hear those topics talked about all the time,” Castillo said. “How do we resonate that message with the students?”
Similarly, Gonzales and Castillo plan to use the same methods to educate students on online services available to them like the Student Government website, the Gato site, the BOSS scholarship site and other online features. With some of these services, Gonzales also plans to update many Texas State sites, citing many students’ complaints about the sites’ accessibility.
Gonzales and Castillo plan on adding more councils within Student Government. Currently, there is a freshman council which hosts a Freshman Forum for students to voice their concerns. There would be councils for other students in addition to freshmen, chartered and non-chartered organizations, and Round Rock campus students.
Working with other bodies outside Student Government is a focus for the campaign as well. Negotiating and building more of a relationship with San Marcos City Council members, other areas of city government and Hays government is also part of the platform.
Gonzales said his campaign plans to work with city and county police to find solutions to larger issues affecting Texas State: sex trafficking and incidents where women don’t feel safe. This falls in line with the Gonzales-Castillo campaign goal of working more with local government.
“The most involvement the student representation has with (city council) is a student representative on the youth commission,” Gonzales said. “I think being representatives or tools of 40,000 students warrants enough to really have negotiating times with council members and with the county as well.”
Gonzales said the campaign would also prioritizing working with local government on off-campus student-arrests and issues related to non-citizen students.
Gonzales-Castillo campaign’s platform also focuses on creating a culture week to expose students to more of their aforementioned diversity through events put on by Student Government and Student Involvement; increasing Bobcat Shuttle routes, stops and fleet size; increasing student-worker pay rates; promoting more diverse faculty hiring; capping class costs outside of tuition like books and access codes; and possibly building another dog park for students.
In an effort to mend all these platform goals together and take in what students want Student government to do, Gonzales said they are calling their movement the #ItsTimeTo Movement. This is their effort to allow students to vocalize their different needs verbally, through Twitter or elsewhere.
“By saying that, we allow the students to fit in how they want this movement to go,” Gonzales said.
The Gonzales-Castillo found themselves in a dispute with their former campaign manager Spencer Lewis, who they fired after he went after the Benbow-Thompson campaign, just weeks after the campaigning season begun.
Student government elections will be held Feb. 18-21 online for students with an active NetID.