“Inclusiveness, kindness and compassion toward his fellow students and all those who come into contact with him” is how the Cal State Student Association describes the leadership of Aaron Aguilar.
The Cal State Fullerton senior — who serves as vice chair of CSSA’s Student Trustees Committee, as well as president of CSUF’s Associated Students Inc. — has been named the Shaun Lumachi Student Advocate of the Year. The honor is presented each spring to one student leader who has demonstrated a deep commitment to serving students across the 23 California State University campuses.
As vice chair, Aguilar’s primary task has been to recruit and interview students for service on the CSU Board of Trustees. “Aaron collaborated with the committee and staff to think of innovative ways to communicate the position to students across the system,” according to CSSA.
He also helped in the hosting of CSSA’s CSUnity conference, held at Cal State Fullerton in August 2019. The annual conference brings students together to meet with CSU administrative, faculty and staff decision makers in the summer before classes begin.
The Student Advocate of the Year award is named after the late Shaun Lumachi, who served as CSSA chair from 2000-01 and helped bring students leaders from across the state together in a time of struggling membership for the organization. CSSA explained, “Like Shaun, Aaron is a student who has a unique ability to bring student leaders together and provide an environment where everyone’s presence is appreciated.”
Diving Into the Titan Experience
Since arriving at Cal State Fullerton four years ago — a decision made easy when he was awarded the university’s premier, merit-based scholarship through the President’s Scholars program — Aguilar quickly got involved in the campus community.
Serving first as a resident adviser, then a Titan ambassador and now ASI president, Aguilar believes his experiences both inside and outside of the classroom have allowed him to “learn, connect and grow.”
During his presidency, ASI tackled student concerns regarding a future food pantry, increasing mental health resources for students, campus climate, Assembly Bill 1460 (regarding a CSU-wide ethnic studies requirement), and transparency and prices of parking and transportation.
“This year provided me with the experience of advocating at both a university and statewide level, along with developing initiatives that impact our campus community’s collective needs,” said Aguilar. “These experiences highlighted to me the importance of data-driven decision making and gave me the opportunity to work with the best executive team.”
Continuing His Passion for Advocacy
Slated to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Aguilar has been accepted to serve Teach for America in the greater New Orleans area.
“The shared views, innovative ideas and incredible leadership that I’ve seen displayed by fellow Titans this year has made me such a different and more hopeful individual than the one who arrived four years ago,” he said. “I cannot wait to continue advocating for equitable education in the future.”
He advises future generations of Titans to get involved in campus and to reach out for support along the way.
“One of the most important parts of your Titan experience is understanding that there are countless individuals in our campus community who are willing to go above and beyond to help you reach higher in your future pursuits,” he said, adding, “And contrary to whatever anyone else may have said to you in life, anything you want to achieve on this campus or after is possible.”
Aguilar’s favorite Titan moment, though hard to choose just one, is the day he received the call that he was selected as a President’s Scholar. “For me, it will always be remembered as the best, for it enabled all of the other perfect moments to follow.”
Contact: Lynn Juliano, firstname.lastname@example.org