Student leaders look to Biden-Harris for change

Four days after Election Day, the Associated Press declared Joe Biden as the 46th president-elect. This announcement was met with celebrations in many major cities across the U.S. and around the world.

In Los Angeles, locals danced in the streets with Black Lives Matter signs, pride flags and even blasted YG’s song, FDT.

A video of Van Jones crying as the announcement broke went viral, as many Americans also wept tears of joy.

Some California Lutheran University students share these sentiments of joy and hope.

Co-President of Latin American Student Organization (LASO) Giselle Fernandez said in an email interview that the news of Joe Biden being named president-elect was like a breath of fresh air and she is happy that “someone new, qualified, and deserving to be the President of the United States” will be in office.

Fernandez said this election was especially important to her, as it was her very first time voting.

All votes matter and every vote has to be counted as our country is based on democracy,” Fernandez said. “It is our given right to vote, so we must all take advantage and vote for our friends and family who aren’t able to.”

Fernandez said she is hopeful that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will be able to bridge the gap of division in the United States and that it’s important to use your vote to be heard.

“Our vote is our voice and we need to speak up and vote for someone who will make America a better place for everyone,” Fernandez said.

Vice President of Black Student Union (BSU) Zino Ayetuoma said in a phone interview that she was initially worried when the votes for president were coming in.

“I would say during the first night, kind of, I was a little nervous seeing how everything was going,” Ayetuoma said. “Because at one point–there was a point where Trump was in the lead.”

However, when Biden was announced President-elect, Ayetuoma said she had a “moment of relief.”

BSU President Urael Blackshear said in a phone interview that he “could sense a shift in the country” and expected Biden to win the election.

“Donald Trump and everything his presidency came with in four years, even if you didn’t particularly have a problem with it there was a need for a change regardless, and that was due to the pandemic as well,” Blackshear said.

Blackshear hopes the new president can work with the other branches of government to make positive changes.

Ayetuoma said she hopes the new administration will clear our student loan debt and put the country back into the Paris Agreement.

“I’m hoping things get better come January, at least in terms of the pandemic,” Ayetuoma said. “Biden isn’t a perfect presidential candidate, but I think he’s a lot better than what we have now.”

Co-Vice President of LASO Jerry Tovar said in a Zoom interview that voting is the most powerful way to create change, but also emphasized his belief that “just because they’re in office doesn’t mean they’ll make the changes that I and also, a lot of other people want.”

“I mean, I’m not gonna lie. I also realized that it’s like, just because he won doesn’t mean like, these are going to change,” Tovar said. “You know, it’s like… we still have to fight for it, you know,” Tovar said.

Tovar said he is hopeful that at the most basic level, this new administration will listen to what the people want and need.

Blackshear said even more important than the presidential election is voting in local elections.

“I personally believe that the most important elections are of course the local elections and anything pertaining to your immediate, like area of living jurisdiction, the city you live in and the state you live in,” Blackshear said. “But of course, the federal and general elections are, you know, debatable on whether the presidency is really super important [to vote in] because of the Electoral College.”

Blackshear said this mindset helped him remain calm while waiting for the presidential election results.

“Politics today isn’t completely democratic so you never know what to expect,” Blackshear said. “So instead of getting myself worked up I kind of just let the, you know, process be what it was.”