“It’s such a huge honor,” said Alferos, who is in his senior year at California State University at Fullerton. “I always tell people I have the unique honor and pleasure of serving in this organization.” He got involved with CSSA in his sophomore year at CSUF but has been a community organizer since high school.
CSSA officially represents almost half a million students on the 23 campuses of the California State University. Alferos is just one example of how young people across the state are working to improve California.
His responsibilities include overseeing the executive team and staff and to advise and serve the Board of Directors which are comprised of elected and appointed student leaders from each of the CSU campuses. In addition, he also will be the official representative of the organization and thus the students that it represents. This includes being a major voice and influencer in California’s higher education landscape, engaging with institutional leadership, partnering with other organizations and providing critical student perspective in legislative and administrative actions.
This is a critical position to be in as higher education institutions begin to welcome students back to campus while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. One of the major priorities for Alferos and CSSA is to adequately ensure that basic needs resources are available for students throughout their educational journeys. Included within this umbrella is mental health which has seen an uptick in need as the pandemic had unique impacts on students, some who are facing the loss of loved ones among other challenges. This is just one of many priorities that Alferos and his colleagues will be facing head-on during this pivotal and consequential school year.
“The CSU’s biggest stakeholders are students, and they are saying ‘we want to help make the decisions too. We want to help build a system that is better for all of us,’” explained Alferos. “That is a key piece of how I want move going forward in this position and that means we’re going to have to make some serious advocacy on basic needs, really addressing food insecurity, housing insecurity as well as the technological and digital divide that only got bigger because of COVID-19.”
Alferos sees parallels in the priorities of both CSSA and the Young Leaders Advisory Council. “At the end of the day, both CSSA and the Council and how they operate are driven, motivated and run by our students. When students are showing up in multiple spaces, and the missions of those organizations are very similar, it’s a reflection, in my mind, that students are pretty consistent in what we’re looking for.”
After he graduates from CSUF, Alferos plans on getting a master’s degree in public policy and continuing the work he has started. “I want to help my community. I want to support the community that has supported me my whole life, and I want to do that in a way that is working from the grass roots.”
We are proud of him and all Council members for their dedication to becoming the leaders of today and tomorrow within their communities.