Newly formed Student Union looks to empower students


Ximena Herrera

During an October 17 lunch meeting in the Mullins Theater, senior Angelo Raya leads a Student Union Meeting. Raya talked about Padlet, a free online tool that allows users to collaborate online, which he provided in the Google Classroom. “The hard part is getting the meeting started, once it’s on it goes well,” Raya said.

Every student has the power to voice out their opinions on issues surrounding their community, specifically in school. Some people are more involved than others which makes them stand out. All it takes is one loud voice to create change.

Senior Angelo Raya is trying to be that voice of change. He is the founder of the Alisal Student Union, a group for students to be heard and supported with things like college scholarships, to have a voice in things bothering them about school while making peaceful suggestions on how to change it and find a solution. “The union is a group where we can get resources and share it all out,” Raya said. “But the union also brings collective change to the people and all the students surrounding.” 

The goal for this year is to at least tackle one of the school issues like the dress code, and to have people sign up for the scholarships they provide access to on their Google Classroom. 

The difference between the Student Union and other clubs like ASB and CCR is that it is mainly student run. “Who can understand and relate to students on the same level? Other students.” said Raya. “This isn’t solely about college but school change, students will take things more seriously if they see a familiar face as the voice instead of an adult that scares them away.”

The student union is an opportunity for people who actually want change and make their learning environment better, as well as having support and resources for everyone. Raya wants to support people, like people have supported him. Influences that played a key role in creating the club were people in La Cosecha, specifically Diego Puga Escobar, a former Alisal student. “He inspired me to be more open,” Raya said. “I had the idea of a union and I was gonna do it regardless, but he is an inspiration especially in La Cosecha because he was always active and really had a vision.”

Raya is the creator of this Union and while he is the loud voice, he needed a support system and people who took an interest to help him. Those people are Juan Pablo De La Cruz, Shareni Lira-Espejel, Edgar Plancarte-Barrera, Andrea Almanza-Rojas. Who supported him in recruiting and becoming officers. “Each officer helped me with the paperwork to create the union,” said Raya. 

De La Cruz, the Vice President of the Union, supports Raya’s ideas and goals for the Union since it’s a special thing for him as well. “I believe that his goals are well thought out and he wants to provide resources for people who don’t necessarily have them,” he said. “Another big part of the union is they are looking to create school change which I also think is important because there are a lot of issues on campus I think could be worked on.” 

Members of the union agree with their ideas as well. “I think it’s a great initiative for the student body to take as where in the past we have been disjointed, and it’s good to have a loud voice that can make change,” said senior Marco Nuñez. “I decided to join because I believe there are issues like college career readiness week that should be talked about because one week is not enough for a good application.”

Students tend to need adult help to be taken seriously at times, and while the club is student run, they need an adult to be the advisor. That adult is Hernan Gutierrez, an ethnic studies teacher. “What interested me in being the advisor for the Alisal Student Union was my strong belief in nurturing organic creativity and intellectualism,”  Guitierrez said. “When I was asked to be the advisor, I saw it as an opportunity to work alongside the young people in our neighborhood. Ultimately, I wanted to show them by example what solidarity between generations can look like.” 

Raya hopes to make a change and inspire younger Alisal students to partake in this influential club. “I want to start talking to freshmen, to sophomores,” said Raya. “I want people to take care of this club after I’m gone.” 

The initial date for joining the Union was on Club Rush, but students can still join anytime by going to the meetings on Mondays. The Union has a Google Classroom where they post information about the meetings and scholarships, the code to join is j3gzhki.