Q&A: Cassandra Onate seeks to bring new voice as SGA VP

Caitlyn Dieckmann  

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     Junior anthropology major Cassandra Onate was confirmed by the SGA senate as student body vice president. Onate is also minoring in women’s and ethnic studies and linguistics.  

     Onate has worked for several nonprofit organizations including Northern Colorado Immigrants Coalition, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, and Colorado Immigrants’ Rights Coalition.  

     She explained that even though she does not have any student government experience, she does have real-life experiences that she thought enriched her qualifications as VP.  

     Onate also spoke about her motivations for the position, goals for the year and skills, as well as her hopes to bring a fresh perspective to student government.  

Student Body Vice President Cassandra Onate.

What motivated you to take on this position? 

     Just my experience throughout UCCS. I’m heavily involved with civic engagement. And so, I saw that we could do a greater impact for student engagement.  

     I know, Emily Gregory, when she was campaigning [for student body president], it was for that. So, I’m working with her for future ideas, current ideas, and also overall representation for those that are minorities, since I didn’t really get that as a freshman and now, I’m trying to see what we can do currently in my position. 

What are your goals for the remaining weeks this semester and separately for the following semester? 

     What I’m hoping to do is heavily work with Emily, try to get students to understand what’s going to be going on such as winter week, and really generating more ideas and being organized for future events. 

What does your interaction look like between yourself and Student Body President Emily Gregory, especially with her having been in her position for almost a semester, and you entering right at the end of the semester? 

     It’s pretty great. She’s showing me the ropes. She’s been able to tell me what’s going on and also gives me the opportunity to give in my insights and some are fresh face. I get to say, “Oh, why don’t we do this instead?” Our differences really allow us to come together and create new ideas and make sure that everything’s running thoroughly. 

What kind of skills do you bring to student government? 

     I’m definitely going to add in new ideas, I have that fresh perspective. I currently don’t really know anyone in SGA as of right now, so I feel like they’ll definitely be open to talking to me, seeing what’s needed. Given my perspective, pretty much. 

What do you think your favorite part of being vice president has been so far and what do you look forward to?  

     So, my favorite part so far is getting to see what we’re doing as a school and seeing our community coming together. We’ve had so many guest speakers at our Senate meetings, getting to meet all of them, seeing what’s going on. And then what I’m going to be excited for is all these events that we’re going to be having for students and really getting in all that student engagement. 

As an outsider coming into SGA, what has been your first impression so far? 

     My first impression so far is that we have a pretty good, diverse group. Everyone has great ideas. And I think that as me becoming the new VP, it’s going to be interesting and they’re excited for something new. 

Are you going to consider running for another SGA office next school year? 

     Probably not as president or VP, but probably still be involved. Hopefully. I’m only going to be here for another semester. I will be graduating Fall ’22. So that is still undecided. But I hope that I’ll still be able to give a voice. 

Do you have anything that you would like the student body to know? 

     I would love for the student body to know that their ideas are always welcome. You are always able to reach out. Don’t be afraid to come into [the SGA office] and don’t be afraid to talk to us. We’re not scary. We’re here for them [the students] and they get to have their voice here.