AS Elections 2016: Meet Director of Student Advocacy candidate Walther Perez

In his third year here at Santa Monica College, Walther Perez said that the constant grind of “go to school, go home, go to school” had almost made him drop out of college. However, his negative view was shattered after he realized the importance of student involvement. For Perez, the job of Director of Student Advocacy is a position he holds in high esteem and has all hopes to gain it in his candidacy in the 2016 Associated Students election. Running under the Fresh Start Slate, Perez is a 20 year old philosophy major with hopes to transfer to Loyola Marymount University to finish his bachelor’s degree and then enter into Loyola Law School to pursue a degree in law. He came from a humble background and graduated from Crenshaw High School. He is heavily involved in the Adelante Club on campus which is a Latino networking and advocacy group.

“It wasn’t until someone reached their hand out to me and said, ‘Hey man, you should come to this club meeting’ and after I went and became involved, my grades went straight up. After that I became an advocate for involvement,” Perez said.

Perez wants to spread awareness about every resource at SMC that otherwise would go unnoticed. In his experience, by becoming involved in the Adelante Club and attaining mentors, Perez has found a “hidden curriculum” in his last year at SMC.

“A hidden curriculum is being available to a resource you normally wouldn’t be available to. In the way I understood it, it’s being in the right place at the right time and being exposed to new academic resources,” Perez said. “For example, I walked into the counseling office and a counselor came up to me and told me about a scholarship that would help with my leadership skills. She said she was going to try to get it out to everybody, but just because she saw me in that moment, she signed me up right then and I thought this is the hidden curriculum. I was at the right place at the right time.”

These opportunities are what Perez wants every student to see.

Perez said, “I’m not losing anymore; I’m finally seeing the light. I want this job because it is hard. I think I’m the most qualified because I don’t just want this position to put on my resume and I really truly believe that involvement saved me. Because I failed over and over and over again, I will not allow you all to fail.”