Together as One…Get Stuff Done
A Message from our A.S. President and Executive Director
Dear A.S. Family,
Welcome to another school year! We are thrilled for another year to serve our students and are excited for what is to come.
We are happy to announce A.S.’ theme for the year: Together as One…Get Stuff Done. In conjunction with the theme, our three main pillars will be: advancing student careers, building community and cultivating excellence. We will increase our likelihood of achieving these goals by the end of the year if we work together as one and when we create symbiotic relationships, we can get stuff done faster. Each day of goal-oriented work will result in each student enjoying a brighter future with a more valuable degree. Your directors will share details on how your area will be working on these pillars.
We also want to say thank you for your flexibility and resiliency during Hurricane Hilary. We are so thankful for your emergency planning and unwavering determination to operate our facilities safely. Although the storm did not hit San Diego directly, our hearts go out to the Baja California and Palm Springs communities. We are more confident than ever that if another emergency were to occur, we would be fully prepared.
Thank you in advance for collaborating with us on our goals and for your continued dedication and support of A.S.’ mission and work.
Tarek and Christina
Latinx Heritage Month
Each year since 1968, Latinx Americans have been celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to honor the culture and traditions of our Latinx community. We recognize and appreciate all the contributions the Latinx community has made for generations as a positive influence on our history, culture and achievements.
Read below as some of our A.S. full-time staff reflect on what Latinx Heritage Month means to them:
Imelda Rivera, Children's Center Master Teacher
“I celebrate my culture by embracing where my family is from and cherishing the memories I have with my family, especially as a child. Being a first-generation American, my family made it a priority that I do not forget my first language (Spanish) so I could communicate with my extended family and others. I am grateful they did! One tradition we have to this day is eating tamales for the holidays. As a child there was an assembly line of all the cousins helping tie the tamales and to this day that is still my job!"
Adrian Muñoz, Viejas Arena Facilities Operation Manager
“I am a Mexican-American, Chicano, Latino that grew up with a single parent who raised me and my three sisters to all be successful adults. My mom was born in Mexico and finished high school when I was in elementary school. She then continued her education and became nationalized just short of her Masters Degree while raising my sisters and I. She retired shortly after working 10 years as a Master Teacher at the SDSU Children's Center, making me a second generation A.S. employee.
Many of my mom’s siblings have similar stories where they have all become well educated and successful. This drive to be successful came from my grandfather, born Sept. 16, the Mexican independence day. We would go every year to his ranch to celebrate his birthday and "El Grito." He was a prominent figure and a charro in the Valle de Guadalupe. His push for bettering yourself has continued to be passed down to his descendants.
So what does Latinx Heritage Month mean to me? I am proud to come from a culture and family that has the drive to be successful."
Sandy Rodriguez, SDSU Children’s Center Master Teacher
“When I think of Latinx Heritage Month, I think of my ancestors — the traditions we shared together and continue to do now. I think of my mom sharing recipes that have been passed down from the women before her and how those meals bring us together at the dinner table where everyone shares a story from their life. At the core of it, I think of unity and togetherness.”
A.S. President Brings a New Background to Student Government
This article previously appeared in the SDSU NewsCenter.
San Diego State University’s first Muslim president of Associated Students does not hesitate in recognizing the special attributes of his seat at the table.
“My faith is the most important thing in my life without a question,” said Tarek Morsy, elected to the office near the end of the 2022-23 academic year. “There isn’t any competing factor."
Morsy, a fourth-year finance student from Danville, Calif., has had Islamic values instilled in him from a young age, being born and raised in the faith. As a child, he went to the mosque often with his family and listened to different imams.
As A.S. president, Morsy knows the importance of the position he holds as the voice for all SDSU students and as part of the university administration’s tradition of shared governance. But being the first Muslim president, he hopes to advocate for students like him, a group he feels has been sometimes left out and misunderstood. Through his presidency, Morsy hopes he will break down generational stereotypes to create a better environment for Muslim students on campus.
“I want to be a representative for the Muslim community and for my actions to represent the way a lot of Muslims are,” Morsy said. “Islam is a religion of discipline.”
Although Morsy is already making positive changes across campus, being A.S. president wasn’t something he envisioned for himself — in fact, he didn’t even know about A.S. until the end of his sophomore year. It wasn’t until he got involved his junior year that he set his eyes on becoming A.S. president, looking up to former A.S. President Shawki Moore and becoming more involved on campus for a more holistic view of the student experience and their needs.
“By getting involved with different groups on campus, I met different types of students,” Morsy said. “And through those experiences, I understood students have different needs, depending on the community they are from. And then I learned how to create solutions to those needs so I could make changes as president.”
As a leader, Morsy prides himself on being curious and innovative, always open to change and improvement. He also credits his natural entrepreneurial spirit to guide him in looking for new and creative solutions.
“I try to be curious because nothing will ever change if people stick to the system that’s already in place,” Morsy said. “I want to be innovative and the way to be innovative is to be open-minded and curious.”
In addition to advocating for Muslim students, Morsy’s top priority includes career development and advancement for all SDSU students, working to ensure they are prepared upon graduation and succeed.
Through working with SDSU’s Career Services and implementing different sectors of A.S. to prioritize helping students with finding jobs and internship opportunities, Morsy hopes that all SDSU students will be better equipped to excel in the workforce.
Morsy credits his Egyptian immigrant parents as his inspiration in addition to the Prophet Muhammad, and boxer and activist Muhammad Ali.
“The ultimate symbol of selflessness is taking an unpopular stance, even when there’s a punishment for it because you care more about the fate of humanity and the community than your own,” Morsy said.
When he envisions what his term will look like, Morsy hopes he leaves tangible changes where a clear difference is shown before and after his presidency including the campus’ culture where members of the different SDSU communities will blend and unite together.
“We have so many amazing communities on our campus but I think SDSU could be an even more beautiful place if this diversity interacted with each other. If you foster an environment of collaboration and the sharing of cultures and passions, a lot of what you’ll learn in college comes from outside of the classroom.”
“I could have never predicted what my experience was going to be like here but it has exceeded my expectations,” Morsy said. I’ve met people that are going to be my friends for life and I’ve had experiences that have molded me and shaped me into the man that I’m becoming. That’s why I’m so grateful to be here.”
A.S. Sustainability Tip
By Charlotte Roberts, A.S. Sustainability Coordinator
This month’s Sustainability Tip is extra special! Not only because you get 2-in-1, but also because this sage advice comes straight from our new Green Love student leaders.
Learn from our 2023-2024 Commissioner and Representative on how they enjoy being sustainable:
Antonella Giorgi, Green Love Commissioner
“Try taking the trolley or bus for only $2.50 using the Pronto app! The app works for both the MTS and the Coaster. And did you know rides are unlimited for two hours after a $2.50 scan? That means you’re only charged for one ride if you transfer from the trolley to the bus, or one trolley line to another.
For example, taking the Green Line trolley from SDSU to Old Town then the Route 30 bus to Pacific Beach will only cost $2.50 total instead of a $10-$30 Uber! Use the MTS Trip Planner to try out your next sustainable and low-cost journey.”
Kat Hernandez, Green Love Representative
"When buying drinks on campus, don't forget your sustainable straw (compostable paper or bring a reusable)! It's super easy and makes a difference! Make sure to recycle clear plastic cold cups when you're done with them.”*
*Additional note from Charlotte — Starbucks’ paper cups are not recyclable or compostable due to a wax coating, so try bringing a reusable cup when ordering hot beverages.
If you would like additional information or have questions about anything listed above, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Fall Emoji Puzzles
Fall is upon us and begins Sept. 23! Get into the fall spirit by figuring out the following fall-themed emoji riddles!
- Football Game
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Candy Corn
- Apple Picking
- Pumpkin Carving
- Scary Movie
- Thanksgiving Dinner
- World Series
- Haunted House
A.S. Book Club
The A.S. Book Club recently had a very interesting discussion about “1984” by George Orwell. A dark, frightening tale, written more than 70 years ago, “1984” was Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future, which is still relevant today. It received an A.S. Book Club Rating of 4.33 stars, out of 5.
Here is what we are reading next…
September 14: “Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead: A Novel” by Emily Austin
Gilda, a twenty-something, atheist, animal-loving lesbian, cannot stop ruminating about death. Desperate for relief from her panicky mind and alienated from her repressive family, she responds to a flier for free therapy at a local Catholic church, and finds herself being greeted by Father Jeff, who assumes she’s there for a job interview. Too embarrassed to correct him, she takes the job. “Hilarious, relatable, exasperating and endearing. For all readers of fiction.” —Library Journal
October 12: “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
A literary classic written by Dostoevsky in 1866, “When Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the tsars, commits an act of murder and theft, he sets into motion a story that is almost unequaled in world literature for its excruciating suspense, its atmospheric vividness and its depth of characterization and vision. Dostoevsky’s drama of sin, guilt and redemption transforms the sordid story of an old woman’s murder into the nineteenth century’s profoundest and most compelling philosophical novel.
Join in on the fun every second Thursday of month, at 4:30 p.m. in the - NEW LOCATION - Presidential Suite, 3rd floor of the Student Union. Whether you read a printed book, listen to the audio version or read the eBook on your phone or tablet, join us for our lively discussions. The Book Club is open to all A.S. full and part-time employees. If you have any questions or would like to join the Club, please contact Quentin at 42303 or email email@example.com.
The San Diego Public Library offers print books as well as eBooks and/or audiobooks, for most titles. You just need a library card, which is free. The books are available through an app: Libby App: Free eBooks & audiobooks from your library by OverDrive.
Also, to learn more about the A.S. Book Club, visit as.sdsu.edu/bookclub
New A.S. Employees
Seth Wayne, Aztec Recreation Operations Supervisor
Hi A.S. staff! I am happy to join the team. I am San Diego born and raised and am glad to be back in this city after a brief hiatus as your new Operations Supervisor for the Aztec Recreation Center. I am a graduate of SDSU with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and got my start in operations of fitness facilities at EoS Fitness in Las Vegas.
The human body and mind fascinate me and it has always been my goal to pursue it as a career. Unfortunately, during COVID I got burnt out working in healthcare and realized I wasn’t happy. After sitting down, thinking about what made me tick and ways I could work with the human body without being in medicine, I landed on higher education recreation and so I packed up my things and went to Vegas for an opportunity at redoing my career.
After just seven months, I am more than thrilled to be back in San Diego working for Aztec Recreation. Working as a Member Services Representative during my undergrad was the first job I truly had fun doing and I am so glad I get to start my career in higher education fitness at this university. It is an honor to work here and I hope to make an impact on the day-to-day of the team.
Christina Goergen, Aztec Recreation Marketing Coordinator
Hello A.S.! My name is Christina Goergen and I am very excited to introduce myself as the new Marketing Coordinator for the Aztec Recreation Center. As an SDSU and Aztec Recreation alum, I am thrilled to be back on campus and back a part of the A.S. team.
After graduating from SDSU with a degree in Business Administration Marketing, I spent the past few years in Los Angeles working within the food and beverage industry as a Marketing Coordinator for a fast-casual restaurant chain. Through this experience, I was exposed to many aspects of marketing and business operations. I am excited to transition this knowledge and skills into this new role.
In my free time, I find myself exploring new restaurants in San Diego, finding new ways to stay active, and binging reality TV. I also am very involved in my Greek culture and enjoy Greek dancing and attending local festivals and events the community puts on. I am very excited to work with and get to know all of you!
Jeanie Maidona, Aztec Student Union Programs Coordinator
Hi! My name is Jeanie, like genie in a bottle. My pronouns are she, her(s), y ella. I’m a proud Latiné, first-generation college graduate. I received my Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences from CSU San Marcos in 2020. During undergrad, I was highly involved, including in Associated Students, Inc. Campus Activities Board. My involvement sparked my interest in working in higher education. After undergrad, I went across the country to pursue my Masters Degree in Student Affairs Administration at Michigan State University (Go Green!), where I served as the Graduate Assistant for the University Activities Board. Before joining A.S., I served as the Coordinator for Civic Engagement & Leadership at Cal Lutheran University in Ventura.
My passion areas include empowering and engaging students through advocacy, leadership and personal and professional development. Outside of work, I like to spend time with family, friends and my beloved cat, Grey. I enjoy coffee, food, going to campus sporting events and walking. My personal goal is to walk 8,000 steps each day. Last, I identify as a Disney adult. You can catch me at Disneyland every other weekend with my Magic Key pass. I’m happy to do any of these activities with others!
Caitlyn McFadden, A.S. Basic Needs Supervisor
Hi everyone! My name is Caitlyn McFadden and I’m excited to introduce myself as the new A.S. Basic Needs Supervisor. I’m a San Diego native, but moved to Los Angeles six years ago to attend USC where I graduated with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. While I was a student, I spent two years as a volunteer with the Trojan Food Pantry and as a research assistant for the USC Homelessness Initiative/Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. These two experiences really prompted my interest in community nutrition and food insecurity, and I’m so excited to apply what I’ve learned to my current role in order to best advocate for and support the student population at SDSU! I’ve previously worked in guest services and event registration for USC University Events, as a college success coordinator for the nonprofit CollegeSpring and as a barista. Outside of work, I love spending time at the beach, going to San Diego Gulls games, cooking, and (most of all) reading. I've read 300+ books since I started keeping track during quarantine, so if you ever need a book recommendation, let me know!
Mateo Marquez, Aztec Recreation Building Services Mechanic
Hello everyone! My name is Mateo Marquez and I am extremely excited to join the A.S. full-time team as the Building Services Mechanic for the Aztec Recreation Center. I graduated from SDSU in May 2023 with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering. During my time with the engineering department, I had the privilege of leading a team of talented student engineers in designing an automated recycling system. This endeavor aimed to make sustainability an accessible and achievable goal for all. I have spent a year and a half with A.S. as a Member Service Representative, and I am happy I can continue to serve the SDSU community in multiple capacities.
When not working, I enjoy playing golf with my family and friends, spending time with my jack russell terrier, watching new movies at the theater and going to baseball games. I love to spend time in my garage working on my car and helping others learn car care and maintenance. I constantly stay active by ice skating, surf fishing and hiking all around San Diego County.
The opportunity to join this winning team is an honor, and I'm committed to bringing high-quality work and professionalism to the community that has been my home for so long. I'm eager to collaborate, learn and achieve remarkable goals alongside each of you.
Marcos Avila, SDSU Children’s Center Master Teacher
Hello, my name is Marcos Avila and I am the new Master Teacher at the SDSU Children's Center. I was born and raised in and around San Diego. I am the oldest of three siblings and I have two lovely dogs named Cher-man Rose McShepherd and Bear Arthur. I love to sit back, watch movies and play video games to relax in my free time. If I'm lucky, I'll be spending time with my friends and cousins. My favorite places to visit are hands down a zoo trip or eating out at Korean barbecues.
I’ve had my heart set on being a teacher early on in my life and have volunteered in kindergarten, T-K, preschools and special day classrooms in San Ysidro for over 15 years. I grew up in a similar environment to a lot of the children I helped educate so I knew the importance of how far a great education can take you. The endurance you can build when you have people who believe in you as well as support you created a community that was warm, loving and nurturing and I wanted to make sure people like me were well represented. That is what I really appreciate about the Children's Center and how they strive to bring out the fullest potential of every child they meet.
I graduated from San Diego State University in 2020 and again in 2022 from the credential program. I started at the Children's Center for lab hours in 2017 and in 2019, I became an Assistant Teacher in the whales classroom. I have worked hard applying myself, growing my confidence and skills in the Center and quickly rising from assistant to associate to lead associate teacher. I am so very honored to continue to work and grow at the Center and hope to be here for many more years.
Niko Soto, Viejas Arena Event Supervisor
Greetings, readers of the A.S. newsletter! I am thrilled to introduce myself as the latest addition to the dynamic team at Viejas Arena. My name is Niko Soto and I am stepping into the role of Event Supervisor. With a deep-rooted passion for creating unforgettable experiences, I am excited to embark on this journey of orchestrating exceptional events for our guests.
I fell in love with events during my freshman year when I started working as Event Staff at Viejas Arena. I worked my way up to House Manager and after two years, I was promoted to Event Supervisor, joining the full-time team and allowing me to continue my passion for events. I am currently studying social science here at SDSU and plan to graduate this semester!
Beyond the world of event management, there's a side of me that finds solace in the great outdoors. I'm an avid hiker, always seeking new trails and breathtaking views to experience. But my true north lies in spending quality time with my family, cherishing those invaluable moments that brings warmth to the heart. And of course, as a sports enthusiast, you'll often find me at Petco Park cheering on our hometown team with friends and family.
Here's to a future filled with electrifying events and shared moments that will linger in our memories. I look forward to connecting with you all!
Levi Padilla, Aztec Student Union Technical Services Manager
Hello, very grateful to aboard Associated Students and to return to my alma mater. I am California born and raised in the Central Valley of a town called Exeter. Making my permanent transition to America’s Finest City back in 2011 to attend SDSU, I received my Bachelors degree in Theatre Arts. My background and studies included lighting design, technical direction, stage management, operations and event coordination.
I have over 15 years of experience in the audio-visual and entertainment industry and have served on many notable locations throughout the county. A few notable projects I have contributed to as a professional lighting designer and master electrician are the Balboa Park December Nights events, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration and Comic-Con. I am very passionate in teaching others who also seek an interest in the AV industry.
Aside from work, I enjoy paddle boarding and going to creative festivals and concerts. When I’m not on the water or enjoying the day's festivities, you’ll probably catch me at Disneyland and California Adventures. Fun fact about me, I cosplayed as Alexander Hamilton from the hit musical “Hamilton” and was photographed by Disney Corporate at the D23 Anaheim Convention in 2022.
- What is your name, job title and major?
Oliver Seelig, Lifeguard/Swim Instructor, Economics
- Which A.S. department do you work in?
I work at the Aquaplex where I lifeguard and teach swim lessons to younger kids.
- How long have you worked for A.S.?
A little over 2 years.
- Is your favorite part of working for A.S.?
The opportunity to meet new people. I have worked with so many different, cool people and it always makes the job a really good experience.
- What was the last movie you saw? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
The Barbie movie. Thumbs up.
- 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?
I am definitely in — I would love to one day play a part in our exploration of space so something like this would be so sick.
- If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
I would move to Switzerland because it is an extremely beautiful country, the food is good and I love the Alps.
- If you had one free hour each day, how would you use it?
First half would be working out and the second half playing guitar.
- Which famous person from history would you most like to meet?
I would have liked to meet Franz Kafka as it would have been interesting to speak with him about his own philosophy on life.
- What is your favorite book?
I’d have to say “The Giver” series by Lois Lowry as all the books came together in the most unsuspecting, yet captivating, way.
- Do you collect anything? What do you collect?
Clothes and jewelry because I like using those for self-expression.
- If you had to sing karaoke right now, which song would you pick?
Definitely “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas. It is always my go-to karaoke song.
- If you could go back or forward in time, where would you go?
I would go forward so that I could see a time I normally would die long before.
- Would you rather speak all languages or be able to talk with animals?
I would rather speak all languages so that I can travel the entire world very comfortably, speaking with and learning from everyone.
- Which of your teachers is/was most memorable and why?
This would be my Arabic professor, Ghassan, because his class was fun and interactive but also incredibly educational as he’s the best language teacher I’ve ever had.