SGA President receives Young Hispanic Leader Award, discusses U-Pass

By Lavell Garner

March 19, 2014

While daily affairs at Dominican help SGA President Berto Aguayo prepare for a political future, he can now he can add one more impressive academic feat to his resume.

This past February, Aguayo was among 20 recipients of the Young Hispanic Leader Award along with a $1,000 scholarship from the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. USHLI is an organization that provides help and promotes potential Hispanic leaders around the United States. Each year, the organization awards 20 scholarships to either high school or college students.

Aguayo shared his thoughts with the Dominican Star on receiving his award and provided insight on the current situation revolving around his current efforts with SGA, including the hot topic regarding the U-Pass.

Q: Was this your first year being involved with USHLI?

A: Yes. Someone recommended I apply. I applied and I received a call over winter break. I was delighted. It was around Christmas time, so it was a great Christmas present.

Q: What does it mean to receive the Young Hispanic Leader Award?

A: Every time you get a scholarship, recognition [or] award like the Young Hispanic Leader Award, it fuels your desire to keep changing and bettering the community you are part of. That’s exactly what I try to do every day with SGA; improve situations and conditions for students, because you can never stop improving. This award not only fuels my desire to succeed and to help with change, but it also provides motivation to my mom, being a single mother with low income, to wake up every day and know her hard work is not in vein.

Q: Thoughts on the U-Pass coming to DU?

A: People may agree or disagree with the U-Pass, but SGA is active this year. On March 13, I sent out a student-wide email with the U-Pass petition. We already have 70 signatures (at the time of this interview.) I myself am a resident student, [and] I wouldn’t necessarily benefit from the U-Pass, but I do see the benefit for other students. SGA had the forum. We invited people; people came and voiced their opinions. Senators voted 17­–1 to go through with this U-Pass. I pledged that I would represent them and use the best modes of action to get the U-Pass. One of those modes of action is the petition. This not only reassures that we [SGA] are active in pursuing student issues and addressing them, but it also tells you how we are doing things differently.