Past ASCWU presidents gather to discuss their time serving students

Mickael Candelaria

Mariana Gonzalez

Mickael Candelaria

Mariana Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

Past ASCWU presidents and current president Mickael Candelaria gathered on April 6 to discuss their time as ASCWU president. The event held over Zoom invited CWU students to come and listen as the panelists recalled the highs and lows of their time as president. 

The past presidents included Armando Ortiz, Giovanni Severino and Jasmin Washington. Past president Edith Rojas planned to speak at the virtual event, but had a previous engagement.

The virtual event was moderated by the Dean of Student Success, Gregory Heinselman. Panelists answered a variety of scripted questions regarding their time as ASCWU president, and also answered questions from attending CWU students and alumni.

Jasmine Washington (Mariana Gonzalez)

The questions revealed a side of the former and current presidents not often shown to CWU students. 

“I would have never thought that I would have made it to college, and then serve as student body president,” former president Giovanni Severino said.

Candelaria helped plan the virtual event. He shared his hopes for the event days before. 

“I am so excited to reconnect with some great CWU alum and people who really were the ones that inspired me to run for the ASCWU President position,” Candelaria said.

The former presidents shared their journeys to college and to becoming student body president during the event. A particularly emotional journey came from Ortiz as he recognized the challenges he faced in his path to a college education.

Giovanni Severino (Mariana Gonzalez)

Candelaria said he thought students could connect with alumni and hear stories of leadership and advocacy by attending the event, but also feel inspired to write-in and run to be the next ASCWU President. He said anyone can email Associate Dean of Student Success Jenna Hyatt by April 20 in order to run.

Candelaria’s predictions for the event proved to be true as the former presidents shared examples of leadership during their time at CWU and encouraged current CWU students to run for ASCWU president. Jasmin Washington had wonderful advice for students running for president. 

“Students are going to connect with who you are, not who you pretend to be, but who you are at the moment,” Washington said.

Possible candidates asked the panelists many questions towards the end of the event, including asking for advice on running for a student body position. 

Panelists also revealed what they have been doing since leaving the ASCWU president position. Ortiz, now a social enterprise manager at a nonprofit, helps younger people gain employment and is currently attending Loyola University in Chicago as a graduate student.

The panelists ended the event with advice to retiring CWU President James Gaudino. The panelists shared their experiences with Gaudino and remarked on the impact he had on their lives and the university. 

“You really saved my life. If I didn’t come to Central, then I don’t really know what would’ve happened,” Ortiz said after describing his first time meeting president Gaudino.

The virtual event, Blast from the Past: The Presidential Legacy, is available for students to view online on the ASCWU homepage.