After getting turned down from each University of California (UC) school he applied to, Tyler Aguilar became loyal to the California State University (CSU) system upon his admission to San Diego State University (SDSU). However, after a couple years passed, and the rejection faded, Tyler found himself, ironically, working for the UC system as a lobbyist after graduating from SDSU. Tyler credits his experience in Associated Students to leading him down this path.
Tyler grew up outside of Sacramento, CA, and planned on joining his family’s small businesses in construction without pursuing a college degree. He figured he’d be in Sacramento his whole life. And while he did end up back in Sacramento, it wasn’t in the way he had previously imagined.
Tyler got involved in Associated Students purely because he was interested. He said, “I just knew I wanted to be part of student government, and so I walked into the offices and I said I really wanted to be on a commission or do something, and I immediately got in contact with the executive officers.”
Eventually, Tyler was elected Vice President of External Relations after discovering that was his real passion. “I really wanted to connect students with issues going on at the city, state, and federal levels. It was 2012 and Obama was running for reelection and a lot of things were happening and I just wanted to get students to register to vote and be involved,” he said.
Although Tyler was as an executive officer, he still views his time as a member of a committee as just as valuable. He said that, “no matter what level of involvement you have, you can really do a lot. I was a member of a committee and I was able to fully invest myself and make things happen.”
He explained that one of the best parts of Associated Students, and the other activities he involved himself in, was, “giving people a voice and a platform. I wanted to get people involved in all sorts of different things.”
Reflecting on his time in A.S., Tyler recalled an experience that had a strong impact on him then, and still affects his life now. He said, “We were able to bring the Speaker of the Assembly, who was the first female Speaker of the Assembly, Tony Adkins, to campus. She talked to us about the importance of being involved in government when you're young. You want to get new people in [government]. Women, people of color, young people, underrepresented groups. You want the government to be representative of the population.” Tyler said that “She still remembers me to this day because of that event when I see her in the capital.”
Years later, Tyler still feels he owes a lot to his Associated Students experience. “If I hadn’t had an experience in A.S. I wouldn’t have been able to explore my passions or get as many opportunities, and all it took was just saying, ‘I want to do this. I want to be involved,’” he said.