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Michelle and her family standing in front of a colorful sculpture in t?2024-06-14

Director’s Message

Michelle Zamora

Hello A.S. Family!

I hope that your spring 2024 semester is going well. 

This time of the year always brings excitement to the Children’s Center as we prepare for our annual fundraiser, A is for Art. A is for Art highlights the creative ability of young children and underscores the importance of the arts in the lives of children. This event includes a live auction of 11 canvases created by children at the Center studying the work of inspiring artists. This year's event is set for April 27 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Courtyard. I invite everyone to come join us this year by going to

Michelle and family at an event

In other exciting news, the Children’s Center underwent an upgrade over the winter break. Our beloved pirate ship at Memory Park was upgraded to a new climbing structure offering more climbing, swinging and big body movement. The children waited through many rain delays, but are now enjoying the new playground.

New play structure

As we head into the home stretch of the semester, I look back at all the excitement, change and growth the year has brought my family and I. My goal this year is to make memories by trying new things as a family. So far, we have traveled to new places, tried new foods, gone to a few concerts and given pickleball a try. All great fun! I encourage you all to do the same in giving something new a try, you just might like it.

Michelle Zamora
Children’s Center Director

SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) Heritage Month.?2024-06-14

SWANA Heritage Month

This April, we celebrate SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) Heritage Month. This marks the fourth SWANA Heritage Month and coincides with National Arab American Heritage Month, which was established in 2021 by the U.S. Department of State and is observed nationally in April. This April, we celebrate the cultures, experiences, contributions and resilience of the SWANA community.

Take a Break Motif Bags

  • April 11, 12-1 p.m., Mata’yuum
  • Explore various motifs in art across the SWANA region and create your own tote bag design using motif stencils and paint.

Unpacking SWANA Media Representation

  • April 15, 4-5 p.m., CIR Living Room
  • Guest speaker Ibrahim al-Marashi, Ph.D., CSUSM associate professor of history, will discuss the history and representation of the SWANA community in the media.

Dispel the Myth

  • April 17, 12-1 p.m., CIR Living Room 
  • Guest speaker Farid Abdel-Nour, Ph.D., SDSU professor and chair for the Department of Political Science, and Islamophobia SWANA/MENA Task Force member, will address misconceptions regarding the SWANA community and the importance of challenging stigmatized narratives.

Cooking with Chefs, Taste of the Middle East

  • April 18, 12-1 p.m., Union Courtyard
  • Join us as we collaborate for a showcase of amazing Middle Eastern dishes prepared right in front of you by SDSU’s talented Chef Tiago.

RSVPs are recommended but not required. To RSVP for any of the events, fill out the RSVP form. 

A.S. staff members at the cook off?2024-06-14

Chili Cook Off Recap

We hope everyone enjoyed another year of the A.S. Chili Cook Off! It sure was a memorable one with a bit of rain but a lot of heat!

Congratulations to our winning teams:

  • Chef’s Choice and People’s Choice: Chili Chili Bang Bang — Janice Dils, Sam Ramtin and Brian Levett (Government Affairs)
  • Rookie of the Year: In Our Chili Era — Maya Massamiri, Gabby Prichett and Melinda Gonzalez (Children’s Center)
  • Most Creative Display: ITS Not The Chili Hut Junior — Jonathan McGrew, Antonio Rivera and JD Obedicen (IT)

Chili Chili Bang Bang team

Four-time award winner Chili Chili Bang Bang as the new team to beat winning two of the four awards: Chef’s Choice and People’s Choice.

Rookie of the Year team

In Our Chili Era channeling Taylor Swift’s success by winning Rookie of the Year.

Most Creative Display team

ITS Not The Chili Hut Junior taking home the Most Creative Display award for their Spongebob-themed decorations!

And thank you to all of our other teams that participated:

  • Rico’s Revenge — Niko Soto, Reilly Bosworth and Kyle Morita (Viejas Arena)
  • Res Hot Chili Peppers — Liza Bennett and Nicole Noroian (Student Union)
  • Bowls of Steel — A.J. Munoz-Bond, Rolland Slade and Dr. Antoinette Domingo (Adapted Athletics)
  • Kevin’s Famous Chili, NOT! — Arpa Aleksandr, Derek Carmona, Iolana Campbell, Gavin Erbes, John Salas, Gaby Swanson (Student Union Facilities)
  • Dr. Chili Pepper — Raquel Herriott (Business Services)

We hope to see you at next year’s Chili Cook Off!

One of last year's paintings.?2024-06-14
One of last year's amazing paintings.

20 Years of Art

A is for Art Celebrates its 20th Year!

For 20 years, A is for Art, a program of the SDSU Children’s Center, has showcased the amazing potential for creative expression by children between six months to five years of age. As a part of the program, each classroom studies an artist and uses the materials, techniques and processes that the artist uses to create their own masterpieces with the help of their teachers.

Since the beginning of A is for Art, the children have used an amazing variety of mediums — from acrylics to oil pastels, ink to watercolors, glue to plaster. Often the tools and methods the children used have been very unusual. Hair blower dryers to “move” watercolors on a wet canvas, push brooms to sweep acrylics on and off paintings, paint rollers, brushes, sponges, hands, fingers and even feet have all been used to apply a variety of paints, each producing their own interesting texture.

Not only do the children learn about art and artists, but they learn to share and work as a team. Each classroom creates one 24” by 36” painting, with every child helping in the process. The results are truly amazing. All worthy of hanging in an art gallery, museum or your living room.

The 20th annual A is for Art exhibition will be held in the Student Union Courtyard on April 27, at 6 p.m. The evening will include a live auction of 11 paintings created by the children, opportunity drawings, hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine. All event proceeds will go to improve the Center’s gardens.

A is for Art is for adults only and is open to the public. Tickets are $30 and available at Get ready for a night full of fun and art!

Two people walking?2024-06-14

National Walking Day

Research shows that engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, can significantly enhance or sustain overall health and well-being. It's widely acknowledged that dedicating just 30 minutes or more each day to walking can yield remarkable benefits for both your body and mind. Whether you're aiming to boost cardiovascular health, manage weight or simply invigorate your mood, incorporating regular walks into your routine can be a highly effective strategy.

Did you know there are designated walking loops conveniently situated on campus? If you’re in need of a quick break during the busy school or work day, try one of the ARC’s recommended walking loops in honor of National Walking Day on April 3! Not only can a walk help you recharge and refocus, but it can also contribute to long-term health benefits.

Embrace the opportunity to prioritize your well-being by incorporating regular walks into your routine – your body and mind will thank you for it.

2 students the campus community garden?2024-06-14
A.S. Green Love’s Gardening Committee Co-Chairs, Juliana Dalesio (left) and Teresa Thomas (right).

Celebrate Earth Month!

By Charlotte Roberts, A.S. Sustainability Coordinator

This Earth Month, let's celebrate the magic of food scraps by turning them into sources of nourishment, creativity and environmental responsibility. Here are some tips provided by A.S. Green Love’s Gardening Committee Co-Chairs, Juliana Dalesio and Teresa Thomas.

Growing Food from Food Scraps (No Soil Needed)

Celery growing in a jar

You don't need a garden to grow fresh produce. Many veggies can be regrown with just water, indirect sunlight from a window and a little patience. Lettuce, celery and green onions can all be propagated in a glass of water. Just refresh the water regularly. Imagine harvesting your own greens directly from your kitchen counter!

Growing Food from Food Scraps (Soil/Planting Required)

Plant from a avocado pits

If you have potatoes sprouting in your pantry, don't toss them! Each sprouted eye can grow into a new potato plant. Cut the potato into pieces, let them root in water, then plant them in soil for a bountiful potato harvest. Don’t have soil? Just let the potato keep growing in water and you have a new fun house plant!

If your garlic has sprouted, individual cloves can be planted to grow new bulbs of garlic. Carrot tops, avocado pits, and herb stems like rosemary and basil can also be transformed into thriving plants with this simple method.

Creative Uses for Scraps that Cannot be Regrown

Scraps for veggie broth

Even scraps that can't be regrown have their place in sustainability. Save vegetable scraps in the freezer to make flavorful veggie broth, perfect for soups and stews. Get inventive with pesto using carrot greens or explore natural dyeing with fruit and veggie scraps for vibrant artistic projects.

Giving Back to Nature

Lastly, remember to compost what can't be reused. Composting not only prevents greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, but also enriches our soil, making the bounty from your next farmers market trip even more nutritious!

If you would like additional information or have questions about anything listed above, don’t hesitate to email me at

Finn as a puppy?2024-06-14
Finn, when he was a little pup.

National Pet Day

With National Pet Day approaching on April 11, we asked some of our A.S. staff to share about their favorite furry friends. Read below to meet some of our A.S. staff’s pets:

Viviana Rodriguez, Accounts Payable Coordinator



I have two fur babies: Jax is a sweet Australian kelpie, rottweiler mix. He looks intimidating but wants to be everyone's friend. Bailey is a terrier, chihuahua mix who thinks she is a person. They both like car rides, hikes, long walks on the beach and sunbathing.


Cole Davis, Fitness and Wellness Coordinator

Cole, his wife and Finn

Finn is a two-year-old golden retriever from Tucson, Arizona and he is the sweetest little lover boy! When my wife and I got Finn, we flew all the way to Tucson to pick him up (goldens in California are crazy expensive) and drove him back in a rental car all in one day. Since then, our life has been full of cheesy smiles, walks on the beach and lots of cuddles. It’s really hard to have a bad day when this is the face you’re coming home to.


Melinda Gonzalez, SDSU Children’s Center Master Teacher

Melinda and Patchouli

This is my fur nephew Patchouli who is a 13-year-old dachshund who often thinks he is a big dog because of his mighty bark when he is protecting the house. He loves to bask in the sun, go for long walks and never says no to a snack. Personal space isn’t his strong suit but makes up for it when he lets me dress him up for holidays. 


Lyubov Horne, Web Design Coordinator

Our three lovable fuzzballs:

Cat in a basket

Name: Finley
Breed: Orange Tabby
Age Range: Middle Aged
Status: A purr-fect loaf of bread

Cat on a chess board

Name: Winston
Breed: Black Shorthair
Age Range: Middle Aged
Status: A stand in for the black paw-n

Dog with a bone

Name: Oliver
Breed: Mutt
Age Range: Young Adult
Status: Hangs with a ruff crowd and has a bone to pick


Cailtyn McFadden, Basic Needs Supervisor

Cailtyn and Lucy

I have three cats, but I want to spotlight my super-senior girl, Lucy, for National Pet Day! Veterinarians estimate that she's between 18-21 years old. We've been inseparable since my family adopted her in 2008, she even moved into my freshman dorm with me when I started college! She spends most of the day sleeping on her heated blanket, but whenever I'm home she's attached to my shoulder like velcro — I've learned how to do everything around my apartment one-handed because she refuses to be anywhere else.


AJ Munoz-Bond, Director of Adapted Athletics

AJ, Lindsey and Archie

For this year's National Pet Day, I am honored to introduce you to my little man Archie! As an avid attention seeker, Archie gets many traits from his dad. He is fast as lightning and spends most of his day explaining to the big dogs he is actually their size and they just don't know it yet. Lindsey and I just celebrated his 5th birthday on March 20 at his favorite spot, Dog Society, and we are excited to celebrate so many more together! 

Book cover of “Remarkably Bright Creatures”?2024-06-14

A.S. Book Club

At our March meeting, the A.S. Book Club had a very interesting and in-depth discussion about “The Road”by Cormac McCarthy, a story of a father and his son’s walk alone along a road through burned America. “The Road” received a Book Club rating of 3.1 stars.

What Books Are Next?

April 11: “Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt
For fans of “A Man Called Ove,” a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus.

May 9: “First Lie Wins” by Ashley Elston
Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist.

June13: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual and widely heralded novels in recent years.

When and Where does the Club Meet?

Every second Thursday of month
4:30 p.m.
Presidential Suite, Student Union

What if I Don’t Want to Read an Actual Printed Book?

Listen to the audio version.
Read the eBook on your phone or tablet.

What if I Don’t Want to buy a Book Each Month?

The San Diego Public Library offers print books, eBooks and audiobooks, for most titles. All you need is a library card, and that is free! Or listen for free through the library’s app, the Libby App by OverDrive

Who Can Join the Club?

The Book Club is open to all A.S. full- and part-time employees. 

How Do I Join?

Contact Quentin at 42303 or email or just stop by one of our meetings.

Want to Learn More About the Club?


Associated Students Logo?2024-06-14

New A.S. Employees

Carlos Guillen, Assistant Director of A.S. Programs

Carlos Guillen

Hi A.S.! My name is Carlos Guillen (pronounced: Gee-yen) and I’m so excited to be joining the team as the Assistant Director of A.S. Programs. I’m originally from the Espanola Valley in Northern New Mexico and am a proud descendant of entrepreneurs and educators who instilled in me the importance of community engagement and fostering positive change through relationships.

As an alum of the University of New Mexico, my involvement in fraternity and sorority life, student government, new student orientation and the alumni association connected me with professional staff and administrators who gave me insight into a career in higher education. I continued my education at Colorado State University, where I earned my MS in Student Affairs in Higher Education. My career is centered on identifying and removing barriers to student success. Beginning at Drexel University in Philadelphia, I managed a residence hall and oversaw residential programming for first-year students. I continued at Drexel as the Director of New Student and Family Programs, overseeing the onboarding and orientation of new students and their families. In 2014, I joined the first year programs team at the University of Washington in Seattle. At UW, I managed a first-year seminar program, parent and family orientations, assessment and campus-wide welcome week programming.

I love spending time outside, whether that includes gardening, hiking, snowboarding, rock climbing or exploring new cities. My husband Chris and I live in Chula Vista and are in the process of transforming our property into a food forest. I look forward to connecting with you and collaborating in our work together!

David and his mother, Angie.?2024-06-14
David and his mother, Angie.

15 Questions

David Peña


  1. What is your name and title?
  2. David Aurelio Peña, Master Teacher

  3. Which A.S. department do you work in?
  4. I work at the Children’s Center. It’s a wonderful job where I get to interact with awesome children. I like to think I am changing the world for the better, one child at a time.

  5. How long have you worked for A.S.?
  6. I have worked at the Center for almost 15 years.

  7. What do you like most about working for A.S.?
  8. I get to hang out with children every day.

  9. What was the last movie you saw? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
  10. The last movie I saw was “Past Lives.” I loved it! A big thumbs up!

  11. Do you collect anything? What do you collect and why?
  12. I am really into mindfulness, so I like to collect positive memories.

  13. What is your favorite dessert? 
  14. Ice cream. It’s just yummy!

  15. Which three people (living or dead) would you like to have dinner with?
  16. Jesus — I’d like to get his opinion about the current state of organized religion. Jimi Hendrix — I’d like to pick his brain about music. George Harrison — I’d like to know about his thoughts on being the underdog. 

  17. What is your favorite book?
  18. “Buddha’s Brain” by Rick Hanson. It is about the practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom and has changed my life for the better.

  19. If you could start a charity, what would it be for?
  20. A charity I would like to start would be an organization dedicated to educating preschool teachers and caregivers about self-care and meditation.

  21. Would you rather be a superhero or the world’s best chef?
  22. I would rather be a chef. I love food but I am just not a very good cook. Superheroes are flawed fictional characters.

  23. What type of pets do you have and what are their names?
  24. I have a leopard gecko named Sunflower.

  25. There is a free, round-trip shuttle to Mars. The catch: it will take one year of your life to go, visit, and come back. Are you in?
  26. I am out. I don’t have that many more years. I could have so many adventures and new experiences in a year’s time.

  27. “Most people don’t know…
  28. …how much I really love movies. I see an average of three every weekend.”

  29. When you visit the Zoo, which animal do you make sure you see, and why?
  30. When I visit the zoo, I head directly to the aviary in Africa Rocks — my favorite place at the zoo. If I could come back as an animal when I die, it would be a bird.





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APRIL 2024

Loud Speaker Illustration
1-3 p.m.
Scripps Cottage
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5-7 p.m.
Union Courtyard
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11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Templo Mayor, Union
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1:15 p.m.
Union Courtyard
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12:00-4:30 p.m.
Montezuma Hall, Union
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8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Montezuma Hall, Union
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12-1 p.m.
Union Courtyard
The Rumor
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12-1 p.m.
Union Courtyard
Middle Eastern Cuisine
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11 a.m.
Union Courtyard
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6-8 p.m.
Union Courtyard
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12-1 p.m.
Union Courtyard
Fair Food
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6:30 p.m.
Union Theatre
“Spirited Away”
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