At this Monday’s Senate meeting on Feb. 26, ASWC Senate President third-year Bryceton Scurr introduced Destiny Barrientos, the new First-Year Class President. “I’d like to start with a welcome to Senator Barrientos, [our new] First Year Class Council [President] … welcome; you’re along for the ride.”
Two weeks ago, the previous FCC (First-Year Class Council) President, Jenna Gelinas, resigned in an act of solidarity with ASWC Campus Relations Director Eryn Wells and Residential Hall Representative Nati Yitayew as an act of protest against what they perceived to be racial bias from certain members of Whittier’s administration. Barrientos was promoted from FCC Vice President to FCC President. ASWC Senate is currently holding elections to fill the roles of Campus Relations Director and Residential Hall Representative.
The Quaker Campus met with Barrientos to discuss her new role as FCC President and give her a chance to introduce herself to Whittier College.
Barrientos has lived in the city of Whittier all of her life. “I’m from Whittier, I was born in Whittier, and I grew up in Whittier,” said Barrientos. Despite growing up here, Barrientos never planned on attending the College. “I don’t know why I ended up going to Whittier College. I was actually really against it at first because I grew up next to it, and I wanted to branch out. [But] I took a tour, and I just I fell in love with it, so I ended up here.”
Barrientos is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Music. As part of her minor, Barrientos participates in a number of music programs on campus. “I’m in Chamber Choir, College Choir, Vocé, and Wind Ensemble,” said Barrientos. “I play the bassoon in wind ensemble. I’m very involved in choir . . . it’s part of my minor.”
Barrientos has wanted to be a part of a Student Body Government since attending La Serna High School. “I decided to run for Senate because I never ran for Senate in high school,” said Barrientos. “I always looked at it as a huge mistake because I saw the things they did, and everything that they put on, and I just really wanted to be a part of it. So, when I got to college and I found out that Whittier had an ASWC, I was so excited. I think on the second day I went up to Bryce and was like, ‘Hey, how do I get involved in this?’ [Then] I just kept my ear to the ground for when elections were happening, and I ran and I got Vice President, so I was so excited to start helping put on events and stuff for first-years.”
As FCC Vice-President, Barrientos worked to support her predecessor, Jenna Gelinas. “[Gelinas and I] would definitely talk about what type of events we wanted to hold, how we were gonna get fundraising, stuff like that.”
Barrientos is glad to be a part of the Senate now, but she finds it unfortunate that she was brought on board under these circumstances.
“I love the fact that I’m in Senate now, but it hurts, the reason why,” said Barrientos. Two weeks ago, a number of students had spoken out, alleging discrimination by certain members of Whittier’s Administration.
“It hurts because I had no idea about any of it until all of these people resigned,” said Barrientos. “So, I’m definitely afraid that people are being affected by [discrimination], and they’re too scared to speak up. That’s definitely one of my concerns, personally. I want to do something for those people where they would feel safe approaching me, approaching faculty, approaching someone.”
Barrientos attended her first ASWC Senate Meeting as FCC President this past Monday. She feels that the meeting went well, but has some concerns about the Senate’s budget. When clubs or student-run organizations on campus want to fund an event, such as a dance or on-campus speaker, they will come to the Senate meeting and propose a funding request. Senate will then ask questions and address the presenters with their concerns before voting on whether or not to fund the proposal. Barrientos feels that, given the limited budget ASWC has to give away, she must be careful when voting for budget proposals. “I’m a little bit nervous about voting on [proposals]. In a perfect world, I would just give everyone all the money they need to do everything, [but I can’t do that],” said Barrientos. She is considering joining the Budget Committee.
Barrientos is working with the rest of FCC to work out new events for the First-Year student body to attend. “[The FCC is] not so focused on fundraising anymore. We just want people to have fun, especially with all the crazy drama with faculty. We just want [students] to be able to come out and have fun.”
Barrientos plans to do what she can to connect with her constituents. “I’m definitely going to have set aside, I think, two hours a week where I’m gonna be in the Senate office. If you need to come talk to me, I’m here, my door’s open. I’m definitely here for you, if there’s anything I can do please reach out.”