ASOCC Special Election Candidates

Candidates for the three remaining senatorial seats in the ASOCC special election starting May 3 are Connor Cuomo (top left), Nhu Quynh Nguyen (bottom left), Alex Sorza (top right) and Sarah Bennani (bottom right). 

The Associated Students of Orange Coast College will hold a special election May 3 through May 7 at OCCVotes.com.

For students to better know the candidates, the senatorial hopefuls were asked:

1: What are the three most important characteristics that define you as a leader?  What personal experiences do you have that support these three characteristics?

2: What is one issue that you would focus on while representing the Orange Coast College student body?

Answers listed here are published exactly as they were received and without editing.

Candidate # 1 – Connor Cuomo

Connor Cuomo

ASOCC candidate Connor Cuomo

1. What are the three most important characteristics that define you as a leader?  What personal experiences do you have that support these three characteristics?

1. I am uncompromising.

2. I'm humble enough to know what I don't know.

3. I have a knack for empowering others and boosting morale.

Being wrong numerous times has taught me that I don't know everything, and that I have to rely on others in one way or another to understand anything holistically. I've lost belief in myself at times. I think that when I make a conscious effort to empower my peers, they will believe that I believe in them. Their self-belief can come later, and it usually does if that's what I set my mind to.

2. What is one issue that you would focus on while representing the Orange Coast College student body?

My main motivation for running for Student Senate is to work towards a more open, transparent, and responsive administration with respect to their relationship toward the student body. This motivation came about as a result of the students who passed away from apparent overdoses at student housing in early February. It is a priority of mine to work towards lasting reform that addresses the mental health and substance abuse crises many students are experiencing and will continue to experience if it is not adequately addressed.

Candidate # 2 – Nhu Quynh Nguyen

Nhu Quynh Nguyen

ASOCC candidate Nhu Quynh Nguyen

1. What are the three most important characteristics that define you as a leader?  What personal experiences do you have that support these three characteristics?

I am a 20-year-old girl with a passionate heart. I always told myself that "I am good enough and smart enough." I believe in myself and put passion, love, and kindness into every job that I do. The second important characteristic is that I respect and am grateful to the people around me. It creates a positive interaction in the working environment where people can develop their full potential. I cannot be a leader myself without the support of other people. Finally, as a leader, I need to have a growth mindset. There will be lots of challenges in my way, and the growth mindset will help me to overcome obstacles I may face when learning something new or developing a new skill.

2. What is one issue that you would focus on while representing the Orange Coast College student body?

I would like to help with the Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) at the Orange Coast College. Our school has many students with disabilities, and they need help from other students to reach their full potential. DSPS has a service in which students can volunteer to become notetakers for their classes. Their duties are to attend classes, write neat and concise notes, and submit their notes to DSPS email. However, very few students know about this service. As a future Student Senator, I want to use my voice to encourage all students on campus to become the notetakers for their classes, so together we can help those in difficult circumstances.

Candidate # 3 – Withdrew

Candidate # 4 – Alex Sorza

Alex Sorza

ASOCC candidate Alex Sorza

1. What are the three most important characteristics that define you as a leader?  What personal experiences do you have that support these three characteristics?

Since leaders hold a position meant to represent a group of people, being able to listen, communicate, humility, and being able to be held accountable are the most important characteristics needed to tackle issues on campus. I held the position as a student fellow for proposition 16 which was a political campaign aimed to provide equal opportunities to students across the state of California. One of my responsibilities was to be able to have tough conversations with individuals who whole heartedly opposed this proposition on the ballot, and this challenged me in every way. Talking to registered voters across the state challenged my views, made me delve deep into my own thought process, and made me understand to view every issue from both sides. This experience taught me how to have respectful heated debates, how to be patient, and made me more attentive while the other person is talking. This experience taught me patience, improved my work ethic, and expanded my capabilities. All qualities which would be integral to be a Student Senator.

2. What is one issue that you would focus on while representing the Orange Coast College student body?

As the state of California begins to reopen various facilities, I know one day OCC will reopen for students to come back on campus. I want to aim my efforts towards a smooth transitional return to on campus learning for students; however, I also do want to help students be able to keep the option of choosing an online education. This pandemic has taught education institutions that they were in fact able to find a way to assign accredited courses to students through an online environment. This in return has helped many students who have other responsibilities such as needing to work, having to take care of family, and even students who don’t have the transportation ability to get to their campuses on their own. Taking away online learning would go against OCC’s statement of intent because they would be taking away student’s educational choice of online learning. I hope to help students be able to keep the option of maintaining their choice of online learning as we transition back to on campus learning; nevertheless, I hope to bring these issues and more to administrators who are willing to listen to their students and to work with me on resolutions that’ll benefit the student body.

Candidate # 5 – Withdrew

Candidate # 6 – Sarah Bennani

Sarah Bennani

ASOCC candidate Sarah Bennani

1. What are the three most important characteristics that define you as a leader?  What personal experiences do you have that support these three characteristics?

The three most important characteristics that I have seen in myself that define me as a good leader is my desire to lead by example and not by ego, my want to include everyone and give importance to others’ thoughts, opinions and feelings and last but not least, my kind and positive demeanor helps make me a good leader. Whenever I have taken on any sort of leadership role, I find myself putting others before myself. "What does everyone want? How can I make them feel heard and validated? How can I give importance to the people around me?" are all questions I find myself adhering to when I am in any position to lead. I always demonstrate behaviors that I would hope others would show me; I give my kindness, positivity, thoughtfulness, inclusiveness and open-mindedness to everyone I meet and this allows me to make a difference in any leadership role I partake in!

2. What is one issue that you would focus on while representing the Orange Coast College student body?

COVID has definitely changed things for us this year, but nonetheless, I would still like to continue fighting for inclusivity on campus. Last year, to run for Student Senate, we had to collect fifty signatures from students on campus. As I spoke to students and asked them if they would like to sign their name on my sheet if they agreed with the issue I wanted to focus on while representing the student body. I found them sharing stories of feeling racism's presence on campus. In a perfect world, everyone would accept and celebrate every single person for who they are, as they are and if I am to represent the Orange Coast College student body next year, I would like to help us get a little bit closer to that perfect world, even if it is by an inch!

 

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