Student Leader Spotlight: Student activist is determined to spread cultural awareness


Cory Kay, Assistant Features Editor


Selena Arellano is a Sociology major, student activist and Co-Chair of Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán (MEChA) here at CSUSM. Through her involvement on campus, Arellano has made it her mission to spread cultural awareness, both within and beyond the campus community.

Involved with MEChA since 2013 during her first semester, Arellano has moved up through the positions within the student organization. Last year, she served as the External Representative and this year, she holds a Co-Chair position alongside Lizbeth Moreno.

“MEChA is determined to develop political, social and cultural consciousness. The student organization is vocal, committed, organized and accountable and stands in solidarity with those who are oppressed and fight for justice,” says Arellano.

Every meeting, members of MEChA are provided with “political education” lessons, in which they can learn about topics such as identity, inclusive words and cultural appropriation .

Members of this organization are also involved in actions both on and off-campus that promote awareness of social issues like police brutality and hate crimes.

According to Arellano, MEChA’s overall goals for the near future are to continue spreading social awareness and to “bring hundreds of students to CSUSM to be empowered and learn about higher education” through expansion of its High School Conference.

After the opening of the Latin@ Center on campus, Arellano said she also personally hopes to “see a flourish of new centers and safe spaces” for students.

Arellano said she was inspired to join MEChA when she saw the “connected raza that had developed this all-embracing and consciousness-raising space for students.”

As a student activist, Arellano’s actions extend beyond the actions of MEChA.

“I try to raise social awareness through my everyday interactions by educating the people around me,” said Arellano.

In fact, Arellano is more than confident on her stand for the Latino community, as she is not afraid to bring up issues that others feel uncomfortable about. She is also not intimidated by confrontation; she has given speeches and presentations in class to promote social and cultural awareness.

Her Arellano’s inspiration for her activism is rooted in her upbringing.

“I came from my strong, indigenous and fierce madre,” she said. “I will never undervalue her struggles or our indigenous culture.”

Another point of her activism is promoting understanding one’s background.

“Understanding your roots is very important because we need to decolonize our tongues, minds and spirits,” said Arellano.

After she graduates from CSUSM, Arellano said she plans to continue educating others and raising awareness.

“I hope to become a Sociology or Ethnic Studies teacher at the high-school level. I will continue to advocate for students, women and underrepresented communities,” said Arellano.

Throughout her time here at CSUSM, Arellano has become extensively involved in the campus community, and has promoted widespread social awareness that is necessary in today’s society.

She said she plans to continue her activism in the future by promoting further understanding of cultural issues that affect many oppressed and underrepresented demographics to this day.