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Aaron Thao

Major: International Relations
Hometown: Oroville, CA
Class: Senior
Program Position: Associated Students Commissioner of Diversity Affairs

How did you first get connected with AS Government Affairs?
I connected with AS through LeadCat where I had the opportunity to network and learn about the many resources on campus. From there, I applied to be a council member on the AS Event Funding Allocation Council (EFAC) my freshman year, and sat on the council for three years.

How would you describe your role as the Diversity Affairs Commissioner?
As the Commissioner of Diversity Affairs my primary role is to serve and advocate for our student body in regards to increasing visibility and accessibility of programs/resources/events in order to meet the needs of our diverse student population. I also chair the Diversity Affairs Council (DAC), a funding allocation council that gives recognized student organizations the opportunity to program events furthering our efforts toward diversity and cultural understanding. DAC also hosts Multi-Cultural Night in the fall and International Festival in the spring to increase our students’ knowledge and respect for all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.

What does working for Government Affairs do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
Through working for the AS, I have gained better understanding of the education system, the amazing work of our student leaders, and how and where our student dollars are distributed to various AS programs. Personally, this position allows me to grow as an adaptive leader and think innovatively. Professionally, I have learned to share my story, empower, collaborate, and work with individuals toward a common goal—student success. Academically, this job encourages me to prioritize my time efficiently, and remind myself I am still a student.

What do YOU hope to bring to the table in your role as the Diversity Affairs Commissioner?
I hope to bring my experiences with the AS, CADEC and Model United Nations to work collaboratively with students and university leaders to foster a safe learning environment for all students. I believe my passion for diversity, service, and student success enables me to process, understand, and incorporate students’ perspectives on issues that are heard and considered at the table.

What are your career plans and how does your job with the Associated Students better prepare you for that path?
My career plan is to become a lawyer and dedicate my life to influence and inspire others to be agents of change. I believe this pathway will enable me to help others navigate through the legal process while advocating for the future of our youth. The AS allows me to understand the current issues facing our diverse student population equipping me with the skills, tools, and knowledge to address them.

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