Although it is his first time in ASSOU, Vice President Danny Hernandez comes with a background in leadership and community outreach. The senior business major with a minor in music has big goals for student government and for SOU itself.
Hernandez comes into student government for the first time with an important role, he explained that his motto in life is “get the job done” whether talking about school work, club duties, or his job in ASSOU. Living by his motto, he is always putting his full effort into the vice presidency.
“It is nerve-racking because I hold such a high position, but I also feel really confident that when I set myself up for something I usually put my full effort into it, and don’t just try to give it less than 100 percent. I am confident that I will get the rhythm of this job down and find a smooth balance to it all.”
Government goals: re-brand
Coming into ASSOU in his senior year, Hernandez had a lot of time to think about policies he would support, so the VP is working closely with President Alexis Phillips for a “re-branding” of student government. Publicizing underrepresented programs more and changing the style of ASSOU’s approach to student outreach and canvassing are on Hernandez’s and Phillips’s agenda this year.
“I love our Athletic teams, but we also have other areas like our STEM programs, our visual and performing arts programs or our pre-nursing students. There are so many different aspects that make SOU be SOU,” Hernandez said. He explained that while SOU gets attention for its athletics programs, the school has much more to offer for prospective students.
The “re-branding” doctrine would also influence the way student government works on campus, and would include a collaborative relationship between ASSOU and programs like the Visual and Performing Arts on campus.
“In a way publicize them more, but also reach out to them and let them know, ‘hey, we are in Student Government. We are the president and vice president. What can we do to help you guys and be more supportive,” said Hernandez.
Tabling in the Stevenson Union will also be affected by the re-brand, which is yet to be made a coherent policy. “We want to try to change it so that people are being encouraged and getting excited by seeing an opportunity to sign up to vote rather than feeling like somebody is just coming up to them with a clipboard,” he said.
Hernandez explained that right now, students feel hounded by tabling and do not understand the importance of their voice to student government. This re-brand might look like creating a tabling “zone” that those campaigning cannot leave so students do not feel hounded, or by changing the “atmosphere” of the Stevenson Union so that tabling can be perceived as more welcoming rather than a nuisance.
Hernandez explained there is still much to be brainstormed on this policy, and nothing is set in stone.
“That was a major topic we brought up: a survey or some type of small field-program where we invite students to give us positive and… constructive feedback on what we are we are doing,” the Vice President said. Hernandez does not want effort to be in vain, so a primary step is hearing from student voices to find out what needs to go through changes.
Hernandez’s career in student leadership began in high school where he was part of the student government preparing prom fundraisers. He grew up in El Monte, a city in the Los Angeles County, and he worked to bring hydration stations to the schools in his district.
Since beginning his college career, he has volunteered for ASSOU’s voter registration program, worked as a Resident’s Assistant with University Housing, and been treasury secretary for SOU’s Sigma Fraternity. He is involved in various positions for EPIC and the Latino Student Union.
Then, in Spring of 2018, he decided to run for an ASSOU– something he had wanted to do all his college career. Running alongside Alexis Philips, the two have combined leadership experience that touches a wide variety of campus communities.
According to ASSOU Bylaws article 3.2.4, “the Vice President will be in charge of organizational assistance to the entire staff through meetings, reservations, scheduling, and institutional knowledge and assisted by executive interns.”
An important responsibility of Hernandez’s job is to stay organized and timely on everything. This ensures the smooth workflow of student government. Therefore, a business major like Danny Hernandez is a solid and beneficial match for the Vice President position.
“When I switched to business it became a lot more about running on a business track, staying professional, doing what has to be done in a timely manner. I feel like that really helped,” Hernandez said about how his major contributes to success as a campus leader.
Being qualified for Vice President is a lot more than being organized, though. According to ASSOU Bylaws article 3.2.7, “the Vice President shall serve as a liaison between ASSOU and RHA as a representative of ASSOU.” Hernandez has also been a Resident’s Assistant, an important leadership function of the Resident Housing Association (RHA), an experience of great importance to the functioning of the executive branch in ASSOU.
Welcoming face of ASOU
Hernandez is proud of all that SOU is doing to make students feel welcomed and listened to. When he began college, he says, he felt too overwhelmed- too busy- to join student government and participate in the extracurriculars he wanted to back then. He wishes he had asked more questions about how to be involved in student government and what time commitment it required. Hernandez believes that the freshman this year have been asking those questions, and he hopes to help students and programs be more aware of the opportunities they have to get involved through student government.
“One thing that I think was expressed during the Week of Welcome is that there are so many clubs, organizations, faculty, staff and everyone at SOU who are willing to answer those questions,” Herandez said. “Organizations and clubs are happy to have you regardless of what your schedule looks like. We just want to make sure you get the best experience that SOU has to offer, and all you have to do is to start asking questions.”