Today Toward Together: Anjelica de Leon, ASI

  • BY Cal State East Bay
  • August 9, 2021
Anjelica de Leon headshot

As we gear up for Fall 2021 and a return to more in-person activities, staff, faculty and students share a look inside their Cal State East Bay programs. This Q&A series highlights the activities happening today, but also what to expect as we work toward being together again. 

For more information about Cal State East Bay’s reopening procedures, vaccine information and more, visit the Today Toward Together website.

Anjelica de Leon is the President/CEO of Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) 

What does today look like for ASI?  

Because this past year was so unprecedented, ASI is really looking at restructuring the board and how we serve our students. For example. this year the full board worked through the summer to be there for students and prepare for the fall. We want to emphasize safety, comfort and creative ways that we can meet their needs. 

How are you working toward fall? 

We want to make sure that we support safety guidelines, like the ones set by the CDC. But we also want to focus on equitable programming to serve all students. We have a lot of events coming to campus, both in-person — for those commuting and living on campus — and online versions. So, some events will be on Zoom, some in-person and some will be a hybrid to build an inclusive community. That’s something we’re really mindful about.

What does tomorrow look like? 

It’s going to be really student-centric because at the end of the day, the university is for the students. We come here to learn, to grow and to be served. I’m hoping that we can provide spaces for students to voice their opinions, provide resources and a strong focus on community building.

What’s different…or what is the same for ASI?

With little returning incumbents and more new members, we practically have a whole new board, which means we can bring in a lot of fresh perspectives and energy. This board has come up with a lot of new ideas and passion to serve students, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic going on. 

But having more new people also means that we need to be very organized. This is why Kabir Dhillon, ASI Executive Vice President/Chief of Staff, and I are creating some structural changes to keep board members, especially the new ones, in the know. For example, we have introduced tasks lists, amplified the policy agenda, developed check-ins and support groups, and also recognized our own board member’s need to be part of a community. 

What is something you learned/did during the pandemic?

Professionally and personally, I learned to give myself grace during the pandemic. I’ve always given 110%. But during this past year, I learned it’s ok to give myself a break, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to not push myself so hard because we are in a pandemic and in a space that has never been navigated before.

I tried to do things that were good for myself, like running, cooking or virtual check-ins with friends because as I reminded myself, “I can’t pour from an empty cup." I’ve been given an opportunity to serve others. And for me to do that, I have to be at my best. 

What’s one thing you’d especially like the university community to know? 

As a student-leader I love uplifting people. One of the ways to express that is by sharing quotes and one of my favorites is, “when you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence.” 

By this I mean, I want to provide each student a space to voice their opinions, whether they have questions or concerns about returning to school, COVID-19, mental health, financial burdens or housing needs, I want to give them the opportunity to share that with us because ASI and the university are here to serve them.

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