Political science senior Mayte Magallón said she is using her position as the Student Government Civic Engagement Student Assistant for Associative Students Inc. (ASI) to promote voter participation in the Cal Poly student body.
Magallón has held the position of ASI student assistant for civic engagement since Aug. 2019.
ASI created the position of a student assistant last academic year with the funds donated by the Grant family to promote campus-wide civic engagement. According to ASI Secretary of Student Rights Bryanna Gay, the role of the student assistant is to research laws and create training materials for ASI student leaders to utilize as they help engage students with the civic engagement process.
Magallón said that her day-to-day work really depends on what ASI is working on that week. In general, she works largely on the education, training and research for the civic engagement campaigns ASI hosts.
The most recent campaign Magallón has been working on is ASI’s annual Flex Your Right campaign. In this voter registration campaign, Magallón trains ASI’s street teams in the voter registration process, so these teams are able to go out and engage with the student body to help them register to vote.
In all of ASI’s civic engagement campaigns, Magallón works directly with ASI President Shayna Lynch, ASI Secretary of Student Rights Bryanna Gay and other student government leaders.
Magallón said that one of her biggest goals in her position is to focus on the logistical work of ASI’s campaigns, so student government members can focus more of their time on directly engaging with students.
In Gay’s position as ASI Secretary of Student Rights, she said that Magallón’s “behind the scenes” work and research for the campaigns allows Gay to feel less overwhelmed and permits her more time to reach out and engage directly with students.
Through her work as ASI’s student assistant for civic engagement, Magallón said she has seen the importance of nonpartisan efforts for getting people civically engaged. Magallón said that she would enjoy continuing to work in voter registration and civic engagement in her future career.
Magallón added that it is important to work in an environment that values and emphasizes non-partisan efforts.
“It’s important not caring who or why someone is going to vote but making sure that they have the resources to make their voting experience as easy and as accessible to them as possible,” Magallón said.
Magallón said it is important for her to use her platform and flex her right to vote. As a woman, a person of color and a child of immigrants, Magallón said she knows how much of a privilege voting is due to how many people have been denied that right and have had their voices suppressed in the past.
“I would feel bad throwing away my right to vote because women before me haven’t had it, people of color before me haven’t had it and my own mom and dad don’t have that right,” Magallón said.
Magallón said she encourages students to understand that voting isn’t a right everyone holds and hopes that students will look inward and make sure they use their constitutional right to the best of their ability.