Aaron Rodriguez

Major:  Multicultural and Gender Studies
Hometown:  Onatrio, CA
Class:  Junior

Aaron admits he knew nothing about the Associated Students as a freshman. However, he met a friend in one of his classes who ran for the Commissioner of Multicultural Affairs and was elected. She eagerly recruited Aaron to sit on the Multicultural Affairs Council (MAC) his sophomore year, and he was hooked. The council has $40,000 a year to allocate to student designed projects with cultural diversity themes. Approximately 12-15 projects get funded annually with a cap at $4000 per project. “It’s exciting to be one of the first people to see all the projects that students are proposing.”

Aaron was able to fill in mid-spring when the elected commissioner had to step down before the end of her term. After a two month taste of the job, he was compelled to throw his hat into the ring and officially run for the office. After a successful campaign, he was elected and is now serving as the AS Commissioner of Multicultural Affairs.

As commissioner Aaron oversees the whole funding process from beginning to end. “I’m in a position to help students by walking them through the process to craft a good proposal. I attend 90% of the events that are funded, and then follow-up with an evaluation of the event and suggestions for making it self-sustaining (including fundraising) for long-term growth.”

“I love being involved. I have lots of interests and wanted to be involved in lots of groups. MAC allows you to work with a wide diversity of student organizations.” Evidence of that diversity has been Aaron’s involvement with PRIDE and the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center (CCLC). Aaron has attended three Diversity Summits hosted by CCLC and has developed “super fulfilling personal relationships.” “I’m a regular fixture at the CCLC now. Most people think I work there!”

Aaron cultivates great relationships wherever he goes. “AS career staff is great. I’ve made some strong bonds with staff, and I’ll be able to use them as references in the future, I hope,” he says with a big grin. “Staff genuinely cares about the students they work with. They are there for you both professionally and personally.”

Aaron hopes for a career as a program director in the area of diversity/multiculturalism. Initially he might seek work in non-profit organization, but ultimately he would like to get back to higher education – a university campus would be an ideal environment for his passion and work ethic.

In Aaron’s words:
“I don’t want MAC to become stagnant.  We should always be asking how we can make the process better, the events more effective, and insure sustainability for the more long term projects. Times are always changing and MAC needs to change with them to be applicable to students’ needs.”