Senate special committees filled, pass bill for Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers


Leah De La Torre

ASNMSU Senate met on Jan. 28, 2023, for their first meeting of the semester to plan for the upcoming spring session.

The Associated Students of New Mexico State University held their first meeting of the semester on Jan. 26, 2023, where they appointed new senators to positions and passed a bill for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

The Senate filled several vacant board positions for special committees through the process of slate voting.  Senator Ethan Ortiz-Ulibarri, representing the College of ACES,  was voted into the open spot on the Continuing Diversity Board.

“When I was vice president of ASNMSU, I was vice chair of the Continuing Diversity Board, so I think that gives me a unique opportunity. I can use the experience I already had, and it won’t just be me going into [the position] not knowing what’s expected of me,” Ortiz-Ulibarri said.

Ortiz-Ulibarri plans to use his unique position on the board to advocate for students of all cultures, sexualities, etc..  He expressed that multiple students have already come to him to discuss issues and other concerns they have, and he hopes to keep fostering those interactions.

“What I want to do specifically is, number one, bring students’ voices  to the tables. Especially when it comes to students of color, students who have a different sexuality, or students with a different ideology. I want them to feel included,” Ortiz-Ulibarri said.

Ortiz-Ulibarri ended up filling in for this position due to an unforeseen vacancy, meaning he won’t have been sitting on the board for two full semesters.  However, he expressed that he plans to use his remaining time on the board to help as many students as he can.

Senator Ethan Ortiz-Ulibarri shakes hands with Amanda Lopez, ASNMSU associate justice during Thursday’s senate meeting on Jan. 28, 2023. Ortiz-Ulibarri was elected to serve on the diversity board.
(Leah De La Torre)

In addition to Ortiz-Ulibarri’s appointment,three other senators gained positions on a variety of special committees.  Alejandra Benavidez was appointed to the Athletic Council, Nyah Chacon was appointed to the Alcohol Review Board, and Victoria Sandoval was appointed as Faculty Senate Representative.

Senate also passed Bill 92, sponsored by Senator Victoria Sandoval, which approved funding to reimburse the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for attending a national conference in Nov. 2022.

The conference allowed members of SHPE to network with recruiters and fellow engineers across the nation. Sandoval said that it was important for her to pass this bill through the senate because the networking achieved at the conference(s) is a crucial way SHPE members get engineering jobs.

“This club has always been an important one in my opinion, because it has brought the Hispanic community of engineers together on this campus in a lot of ways,” Sandoval said. “Because a lot of the students in this club are international students, it’s a lot harder for them to network against American students.”

Sandoval explained that the engineering workforce can be biased towards the “white male” standard, and that can affect one’s likelihood for getting a job or internship.

“Being a woman or having accents and stuff like that definitely impacts how likely you are to get an internship. [My constituents] ability to go to these conferences is extremely important because it gives them a fair shot,”  Sandoval said.

Sandoval explained that having Senate pass this bill meant so much to her because she’s a newer senator and this was her first bill that she was able to sponsor and successfully get approved.

“It honestly just means a lot that I know Senate takes my opinions into consideration and understands that I work really hard towards those [bills] that are important to make a difference,” Sandoval said.

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