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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

Camacho and Haas reflect on term ahead of graduation

“We love this institution, and we want to make it better,” said Student Government Association (SGA) vice president Josie Haas when the Observer asked her about her 2023-23 term.

As the school year comes to a close the Saint Mary’s SGA president Angela Martinez Camacho and vice president Josie Haas took time to reflect on their term. Both Camacho and Haas are members of Saint Mary’s class of 2023 and will be graduating this upcoming weekend.

Courtesy of Camacho-Ha
Courtesy of Angela Martinez Camacho

Camacho studied psychology and sociology, and is looking to continue her work with student affairs at the collegiate level.

“I hope to work within student affairs. At a local university in my hometown hopefully, I’m currently in the application process, but I really do want to continue working through that passion for student affairs,” Camacho said.

When asked if she would ever work at Saint Mary’s, Camacho said, “Give me a year, then let me come right back here.”

Haas will also be graduating with a degree in secondary education and Spanish. She will be working as a permanent substitute teacher at a local high school in her hometown, with the potential to move up to a full-time teaching position after a year.

When asked if they had accomplished the goals they set out for their term, the pair agreed that they achieved “a good majority” of their goals. Haas explained, “We wanted to make sure that we followed the initiatives outlined in our platform as closely as we could, I feel that we did a very good job getting done what was actually attainable.”

One of the things Camacho and Haas did accomplish involved their work surrounding sexual violence, relationship violence and Title IX. The duo worked closely with the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), Belles Supporting Belles, Callisto and President Conboy’s office to combat what they referred to as the “die down period”.

“We knew that after last year there would be a ‘die down period’ which is where a student comes and speaks out and then there’s a big, ‘we need to make a change’ movement, but then it dies down and nothing ever happens. We didn’t want that to be the case,” Haas said.

“This resulted in the institutions wanting to hire a full-time dedicated person to be director of Title IX for Saint Mary’s College. Now the institution is in the process of hiring a person for this new job, so we’d like to think that. It was our efforts in collaboration with countless other students and organizations that made the institution realize that we needed someone who was more dedicated to this issue,” Camacho added. “It’s definitely one of our prouder moments.”

The Observer asked Camacho and Haas if they had any advice for the upcoming class of 2024.

“Don’t quit, do not quit. Seek help, not just from your peers but also your advisors, they’re here to guide you,” Camacho said.

“It goes by much quicker than you think. So, enjoy it while you can,” Haas added.

When asked how Saint Mary’s had helped them grow into the women they are today, Camacho said, “By testing me. Saint Mary’s has tested me every gosh darn day, and what I appreciate is that Saint Mary’s sometimes puts me in a position of anxiety and fear. But when I have pushed myself to get over those barriers, is when I’m the proudest, because I’m taking action in a moment where I don’t always feel the most confident in myself.”

Haas echoed that feeling of empowerment. “We have this quote, ‘empowered women empower women’ and I feel that, in short, is what my experience here at Saint Mary’s has been about. Seeing what it means to be around an empowered, intelligent, strong and driven community of women, and what that can do for you. When you’re around people that have that drive, it makes you want to push yourself harder,” she said.

When discussing what they would miss the most about Saint Mary’s the pair had similar answers.

“The people, without a doubt,” Haas said.

Camacho’s answer similarly was “the people in a holistic way — the students, friends, faculty and staff — you really do learn to build those close bonds.”

She went on to say, “I’m from far away, I’m from Texas, and to not have someone around the corner anymore, I just know I’m going to be sad, and I’m going to miss having my friends within 10 feet of me.”

Camacho had some final comments for Saint Mary’s saying, “I just want to say thank you to Saint Mary’s, thank you to the students. Thank you to the administration, faculty and staff. Thank you for allowing us to have an impact on you. Thank you for entrusting us with creating a better space here.”

“You’ve definitely taught us a few things. You’ve challenged us, but in the end, we embraced it all and created something that would be meaningful for you all and we hope that you appreciate that. We hope that you continue to stress the importance of student leadership on our campus,” she added.