Campus News

Meet Your Student Trustee Candidates

By Katharine C Romero | Posted March 23, 2015


DISCLAIMER: The Collegian does not endorse any candidate for Student Trustee, and will provide unbiased news coverage on the Student Trustee campaign.

In order to provide the student body with information they need to cast an informed vote for their next Student Trustee, the Collegian interviewed all five candidates for the Student Trustee election to find out more about their leadership experience, their plans to impact the Morton College community, and their priorities if elected.

Students will be able to vote for the candidate of their choice through the Panther Portal at on Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2.

Jose Mar, the President of MAP and Treasurer of CAB. Photo cred: Michael Kott, Multimedia Department


Jose Mar is currently the president of Morton Ambassador Program (MAP), a volunteer-based club on campus. He also serves as treasurer of Campus Activities Board (CAB), a club that works all year long to plan campus events.

Mar is also a team leader off-campus. His work experience in construction helped him become a responsible leader to delegate duties and tasks to other workers. He was inspired to run for Student Trustee by the encouragement of his instructors and has big plans for Morton College if he is elected.

“I heard a lot about the bus fare… I would like to give full-time students a [transportation fare] discount,” Mar said. Other ideas include lowering food prices within the school for students. A huge priority of Mar’s would be to increase student involvement and show students what Morton College has to offer.

With his treasurer experience, Mar is passionate about running the HOPE Scholarship Committee. The HOPE Scholarship Committee is a responsibility that has been delegated to the Student Trustee since its creation, and is meant to fundraise for students who do not qualify for financial aid.

“My goal would be to raise $10,000 for the HOPE Scholarship, because I am an undocumented student and I do understand the financial situation,” Mar stated. “We’re all in this together. What affects one student affects us all.”

Mar’s emphasis on all of the students being one is what he believes makes him stand out from the rest of the competition.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great,” Mar said.


Brian McNamara, Morton College athlete on the men’s basketball and baseball team. Photo cred: Michael Kott, Multimedia Department.

Brian McNamara is a 4.0 GPA athlete on the men’s baseball and basketball team. After Morton College, McNamara plans to transfer to DePaul University or Chicago State University to major in philosophy and history. He would ultimately like to attend law school to become a lawyer. McNamara was motivated to run for Student Trustee by the support of his peers.

If elected Student Trustee, McNamara said he would work to increase involvement in all students. He believes that clubs, organizations and athletic teams can build a stronger connection. In addition, he feels that this information should be advertised more to increase awareness. McNamara strives to create a sense of unity on the Morton College campus.

McNamara’s priority will be to make sure that all voices are heard, and be the support system that the Morton College community needs.

“A lot of people come to me with their problems and issues,” McNamara explained. “I’m a very good listener. I can get an idea of what people want. I can voice this opinion.”

McNamara realizes that many students need help financing their education, and would like to continue to help students through the HOPE Scholarship.

McNamara believes his team leadership skills and his passion for the students’ opinions sets him apart from the rest of the competition.

“I’m a team leader. I feel like the students need someone confident to voice their opinions and help give the people a voice,” McNamara said.

One of McNamara’s plans if elected is to place a discussion box within the campus where students and faculty can write down advice to improve the college or any concerns they may have.


Diancy Moreno, senator of the newly founded Science Club. Photo cred: Michael Kott, Multimedia Department.

Diancy Moreno is an undocumented student who emigrated from Mexico City at the age of 9, and could not afford to attend a university at the time. After graduating, she initially planned to join the Air Force to help finance her education.

Her mother encouraged her to enroll at Morton College, but was discouraged during high school to go to a community college. Instead, Moreno decided to work for State Farm.

“Being out of school for four years, and working for State Farm for two years, it really gave me a sense of the real world… After I received information and expanded my social network, I felt like it was time for me to go back to school after four years,” Moreno said.

“I came to Morton College, and the advisors were great. I always knew that I wanted to be in any sort of health care,” Moreno explained. With extensive research and the help of advisors, Moreno decided to pursue an associate degree in science, transfer to a four-year institution and major in Neurology.

Moreno wishes to improve the graduation rate, and focus on academic issues within the college.

“I think the college is great. It has a lot of people who are great leaders, and want to be better in school and want the school to be better. But one of the things that I found when speaking to my peers was the graduation rate,” Moreno said. “We do have the help, so why are we not getting those graduation rates?”

As student trustee, Moreno hopes to show students that a great deal of help is offered at the college, and proposes targeting incoming freshman to help them find the resources they need. Moreno also hopes to continue the HOPE Scholarship and commemorate the work of former student trustees.

Moreno was inspired to run for Student Trustee by the work of a previous Student Trustee, Jeffery Arias, whom she when she was still in high school.

“He is very charismatic gentleman, and he always wanted the best of everybody. He was genuinely nice, and he never wanted anything bad for anybody. He got things done, no matter what,” stated Moreno.

Moreno acknowledges that her fellow candidates’ academic and extracurricular successes, but she feels that her real-life experience is what separates her from the rest of the competition.

Alejandra Murillo, Secretary of SGA, member of MAP and writer for the Collegian. Photo cred: Michael Kott, Multimedia Department.

Alejandra Murillo’s journey at Morton College began when she was awarded the Academic Excellence Scholarship, which required 15 hours of community service and membership in MAP.

Murillo eventually ran for secretary of SGA and her community involvement took off. As a result, she has attended many conferences and covered them for the Collegian.

If elected Student Trustee, Murillo wishes to target student involvement as one of her main goals. Murillo wants to show students that being involved can change the experience completely, and wants students to feel the sense of community and acceptance that she has felt during her time at Morton College.

“People come here and they just try to get out right away, but definitely I want to make them feel like they can get involved here because it is a great way to build experience for what you would find at a university,” Murillo explained.

Another goal of Murillo’s is to build upon the works of former Student Trustees for the HOPE Scholarship.

“Omar Ruiz was able to set up donation boxes in Cicero and Berwyn, and I would really like to expand on that because Morton College isn’t just Cicero and Berwyn,” said Murillo. “I just want to have the HOPE scholarship reach out to new outlets and new neighborhoods.”

Murillo also hopes to think bigger with the HOPE Scholarship by pitching the idea to other outlets and use pages like GoFundMe as new sources of revenue.

Murillo was inspired to run for Student Trustee by Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez from California, the keynote speaker at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) conference.

“So what if I lose? There is no shame in just putting yourself out there. A little embarrassment shouldn’t get in the way,” Gonzalez said about running for office.

“That’s what made me to decide to run for Student Trustee. You got to risk it to get the brisket,” Murillo said.

What Murillo believes makes her stand out from the other candidates is her preparedness for the role of Student Trustee. As a result of her involvement with SGA, MAP and the Collegian, and her mentorship from club leaders, she is aware of how Student Activities and college affairs operate.


Arielle Vega, Vice President of the Music Club, member of CAB, and writer for the Collegian.

Arielle Vega is the vice president of the Music Club, an active member of CAB, and a writer for the Collegian. At Morton West High School, she was president of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) three years.

Vega has also shaped her leadership skills through her work experience in the health department at Cicero Town Hall, where she had the opportunity to cover for her boss who was out sick. Although it was challenging, Vega considered it a great learning experience.

For her educational plans, Vega is pursuing an associate degree in marketing at Morton College, and plans to transfer to Northpark University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in advertising.

If elected, Vega would like to ask students on campus what changes they would like to see on campus.

“I would definitely like to go around and ask students if there is anything they want changed on campus, and if there is anything that we can improve on,” said Vega. “I know that it’s a big thing – although we may not catch it, they might and it’s a really good idea to follow up with them and see.”

Vega would also like to increase involvement within the student body, and she believes that joining clubs and organizations on campus is like creating a family.

“Joining a club is how you make friends, and it’s such a great experience where you make lifelong connections, as well,” Vega commented.

Vega’ wants to continue the HOPE Scholarship and wants to implement a new idea to fundraise.

“I had this idea that me and Yamil Diaz were thinking about doing… We were thinking of having this huge event at the community center in Cicero and hosting something where the businesses and the clubs at Morton College can interact together and promote each other at the same time. Community members can be involved, and possibly donate to the cause,” Vega explained.

Vega is running Student Trustee because of her desire to make a difference on campus. Although she was hesitant at first due to her various responsibilities, she thanks Faviola Anaya, last year’s Student Trustee runner-up and current CAB president, for all of her encouragement.

What Vega believes makes her stand out from the competition is her leadership experience, her license of qualification to work with children and the new perspective she will bring to the position.

Students and faculty can meet this year’s student trustee candidates and ask questions of their own at the upcoming debates.

The first debate will take place on Wednesday, March 25 at 1 p.m. in room 105C. The second debate will be held on Tuesday, March 31 at 4 p.m. in room 106C. Students can express what they feel the Morton College community needs and support the candidates for the upcoming election.

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