SGA presidential candidate Navarro wants to push SGA to its full potential


Jackson Fuentes

Senator Marissa Navarro, a junior majoring in international studies and Spanish, uses her diverse background to motivate her activity on campus. 

Since stepping foot on campus three years ago from Grand Rapids, MI, Navarro has been deeply involved. Navarro represents the College of Arts and Sciences as both a senator and ambassador, has served in the Blackburn Institute, founded the Hispanic-Latino Association and is a student intern at UA Crossroads. As a presidential candidate she encourages diverse students to “Make your Mark” like she is.

“I like to be very involved,” Navarro said. “I like to ensure that I’m representing all my constituents. I’m actually an ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences, so I’m able to work with students that are in my college, just to see what their concerns and issues are.”

Navarro said she represents the student body by using the legislative powers vested in her through the SGA in tandem with the experiences that she has had as a student leader through other organizations.

“I’m the president and founder of an organization on campus, so that also gives me the opportunity to talk to people and just see – even if they’re not in my college – see how I can help them through my legislation,” she said.

Navarro’s involvement, compassion and work ethic were among the most referenced character traits by her campaign staff. While each staff member provided separate testimony concerning how Navarro had positively impacted their campus experience, each member lauded Navarro’s involvement and compassion to help others, ultimately agreeing that “making your mark with Marissa” brings positive change for all.

Senator Parnab Das, a graduate student in environmental engineering, said Navarro would be the best candidate for SGA president. 

“I support Senator Navarro because I think supporting her means supporting yourself,” Das said. “She truly exemplifies the mission of SGA.”

Das said Navarro consistently fights for representation among all students.

“She has always advocated for those students who are underprivileged and underrepresented on this campus,” he said. “She has always proven her leadership skills.”

Das said why he was making his mark with Navarro.

“I’m not praising her just because she’s my friend,” Das said. “I truly see her as a leader of the campus, and I truly think she can really help out the students in whatever way she can.”

When Navarro is not involved with campus affairs, she said that she enjoys reading and spending time with friends. Additionally Navarro said that she enjoys learning.

“I love to learn about my culture,” Navarro said. “I like to see what people are passionate about, and how they go about making change.”

Navarro’s platform for SGA president is centered around values such as representation for all students, transparency between SGA and the student body and diversity, but the biggest takeaway that Navarro wants voters to get out of her campaign relates to an entirely different issue. 

“I want voters to know that I’m just an ordinary student,” Navarro said. “Ordinary students can do extraordinary things.”

Navarro said she does not believe that you have to come from a certain background to be successful. Navarro has passed legislation encouraging transparency on the SGA website and supporting DACA immigrants. 

“I’m the first hispanic to ever run for SGA president,” Navarro said. “I come from a single-parent household, an immigrant family, first generation, come from an urban area … I’m not even Greek. You don’t have to be Greek to succeed here at the University, and I think that is a message that I really want to push.” 

Members of Navarro’s campaign staff gave testimony to her involvement and passion toward serving others.

Teryn Shipman, a junior majoring in political science, said Navarro has always fought for minority rights. 

“She’s always been actively engaged in different campus events,” Shipman said. “She’s super well-rounded, super authentic and genuine, and I think that is really not appreciated or understood on campus.”

Senator Cara Clay, a sophomore majoring in geography and economics, said that Navarro is the most productive candidate out of the three, pointing out each organization that she belongs to in addition to describing a social justice award that Navarro had won to prove it.

“She’s very involved,” Clay said. “She’s very accomplished and she cares about the community.”

Navarro argued that her deep-rooted involvement at this campus not only sets her apart from other candidates because of the amount of time that she has been deeply involved.

“My history doesn’t just start now,” Navarro said. “I think a lot of times, when people run for positions, they like to bring up diversity and financial resources and safety and well-being, but they haven’t been actively working towards that from the beginning.”

Navarro said she’s working to make campus as a whole more open to all students.  

“I don’t just work with a lot of minority organizations,” Navarro said. “I’ve also been at the table with Greek leaders to talk about ways that we can collaborate between them and cultural identity organizations.”

Navarro said the SGA right now has almost $5,000 of untapped potential. 

“I believe that SGA has so much power on campus and that they can do so much,” Navarro said. “We’re working with a $6,000 budget, and we’ve probably used $1000 of that.”

Navarro said she believes any extra money should be given back to students through things like emergency funds and sexual education, constantly focusing on students and transparency within the government.

“In the beginning, I told [my campaign staff] that no one was guaranteed a place in my cabinet,” Navarro said. “They understand that we need a true democracy within SGA.”

Navarro aims to make her mark as the first Hispanic SGA president on Tuesday, March 6 after all of the votes are counted.