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‘It means the world’: Camacho, Haas discuss upcoming term, hopes for College community

| Friday, April 1, 2022

Beginning May 1, Angela Camacho and Josie Haas will serve the Saint Mary’s community as the Student Government Association (SGA) president and vice president, respectively. As the beginning of their term approaches, The Observer sat down with the pair to discuss their priorities going into office and the core values of their campaign.

Prior Experiences

Camacho discussed how her experience as the president of Residence Hall Association (RHA) and the SGA vice president of operations allowed her to be more confident in her candidacy as SGA president.

“I sort of felt that I knew what the job entailed, and that I would be not the perfect candidate, but the suitable, knowledgeable candidate for that position so that influenced me too,” Camacho said.

Camacho said she also attributed her desire to run with the confidence her professors had in her.

“I just think that I had support from certain professors who also reassured me along the way that ‘Oh, I am doing the right choice or …  I am making the right decision by going forward with running along with Josie,’” Camacho said.

Haas noted that her time in a field placement with high school students assured her participating in SGA would be beneficial for her and her students.

“I would say also, after starting in field with high schoolers, was when I more so was like, being a part of a SGA and running with Angela made more and more sense,” Haas said. “And so I was excited to think, OK, this could be something that I can see them through and do with the students that I met, but also be on the other end of.”

In speaking about her running mate, Haas chronicled how she saw Camacho grow as a leader as she served as RHA president.

“I would say my time on RHA with Angela — seeing her leadership as stepping in as the president of RHA early on last semester was insane,” Haas said. “How [it was a] seamless transition … It seemed like she’s a perfect fit to step into the role.”

Addressing why she selected Haas as a running mate, Camacho described the valuable experience Haas gained as a RHA committee chair.

“I had seen how she had grown as a committee chair,” Camacho said. “So I was like, if anything, she’s the perfect candidate because I wouldn’t need to train her that much to be a [vice president] or to be a part of SGA.”

The pair’s priorities

The pair said their top priority is establishing their cabinet and beginning to organize their plans during their term. 

Considering the possibility of COVID variants returning to campus, Camacho discussed how she and Haas would use previous solutions to ensure the happiness and safety of the campus community.

“I think that because we’ve already been through those two years of COVID, that we would sort of know how to plan, should administration say, you know, cut different things or hold back on different aspects of what you’re trying to do,” Camacho said. “Regardless of anything, we will always work towards making our campus an enjoyable campus for the student body.”

When asked about the campaign’s focus on diversity and inclusion, Haas spoke about the importance of supporting LGBTQ+ students on campus.

“We want to incorporate the faith aspect as well — and showing that was huge actually,” Haas said. “Making students that are maybe uncertain in their sexuality feel comfortable, still in their faith, especially again, a Catholic institution where that might not be the easiest thing to feel accepted.”

In addition, Camacho drew on her experiences as a person of color to inform her experience in uplifting others with similar backgrounds.

“That plays a major role in my life and creating a safe space for people who look like me and have the same backstories as me is 100% important for me,” Camacho said. “Whether that be through SGA alone, creating events — or making POCs feel more included, whether that be reaching out to different organizations, as I mentioned in our platform, Student Diversity Board, La Fuerza, Black Student Association. It’s just trying to think of, okay, I know this perspective, what would I want to feel more included and to feel more recognized.”

Tri-campus goals

The campaign also wants to strengthen tri-campus ties. 

Camacho highlighted the unique relationship between Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross.

“Notre Dame isn’t going anywhere, Saint Mary’s isn’t going anywhere and Holy Cross isn’t going anywhere,” Camacho said. “So I’ll put it this way — we’re siblings. You know, sometimes we’ll fight, sometimes we might hate each other, sometimes we might see eye to eye. But regardless of anything, we always have to go back to our roots.”

Additionally Haas explained the pair’s goals to form more connections with Holy Cross College. 

“We don’t have enough connection with Holy Cross, and they are also part of our tri-campus community,” she said. “So that’s a big thing that we have to do is finding ways that we can make more and more ties with them so that we can make sure that it’s not just like … just going to Notre Dame. We want to make sure we have that connection with Holy Cross too.”

Camacho emphasized how much being elected student body president means to her.

“It means the world because basically, the student body entrusts us with their future as students on campus,” she said. 

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About Genevieve Coleman

Genevieve Coleman is a graduating senior at Saint Mary's majoring in English literature, creative writing and secondary education. She was an Assistant Managing Editor for the 2022-23 term.

Contact Genevieve