Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Meet Peralta’s student leaders

Four student body presidents discuss their backgrounds and aspirations
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(Graphic by Li Khan/The Citizen)

At each of the four Peralta colleges, student body government plays a substantial role in the shared governance structure, responsible for voicing the needs and concerns of the students at their respective campuses. This fall, a new class of student leaders has stepped up at each of the four campuses and sat down with The Citizen to tell us more about their unique backgrounds and aspirations.

Berkeley City College Student President Kristiyan Klichev

Interview conducted November 21, 2023 via Zoom. (Photo courtesy: Kristiyan Klichev)

Kristiyan Klichev originally planned to attend a UC following high school, but after being unsuccessful in his application to his preferred school, he made the decision to go to Berkeley City College (BCC). 

“I was so set on going to a UC straight out of high school, it never really dawned on me that I could go down this route,” Klichev said. “I ended up spending the whole summer contemplating what I should do. It was in August that I applied to [BCC].”

Klichev hopes to transfer to UC Berkeley and pursue a degree in business administration from the Haas School of Business. After graduation, Klichev dreams of starting his own business. 

“I don’t want to work for someone else. I’ve always had that mentality my whole life growing up,” Klichev said.

Though he is uncertain of what the business will be for, he sees it as a means of doing his own thing and breaking from the tradition of joining an established company post-college.

Klichev appreciates his time at BCC. Though it may not have been his first choice upon moving on from high school, he believes it has been a good experience attending a community college. He wants to make sure that future students do not look down upon the community colleges. 

“The community college stigma needs to be erased. It is more of a place that is actually more healthy than what people might tend to believe at universities. A place to explore your interests and to gauge what works for you,” Klichev said. 

Merritt College Student President Marco Loza 

Interview conducted November 29, 2023 via Zoom. (Photo courtesy: Marco Loza)

Marco Loza is a Computer Information Systems major with a focus on video game development. He developed an interest in this field from his love of video game projects, especially those that tell compelling stories rather than amaze with high end graphics. 

“Originally, I wanted to pursue something that involved mathematics because that seemed to be one of my major strong suits. And then I looked into computer science, but I was also looking into video game development because it turns out that they actually have very similar courses,” Loza said.

Before becoming student president of the Associated Students of Merritt College (ASMC), Loza was not always interested in student government. Although he wasn’t initially passionate about the field, Loza has come to appreciate the impact that it can have on the student body. 

“I thought maybe giving it a try would be a nice way to get some experience. I joined and I realized how important of a role that being a representative of Merritt College [is]. I feel it is a responsibility for the students. We should take actions to support our students. Students that are in need. We can address this in a way,” Loza said.

Now that Loza is in the president role, he wants to ensure that the ASMC board is able to maintain itself for future iterations. 

“In Fall 2025 I’m hoping to improve the ASMC board because as of now we have a low amount of members. I want to be able to build this board and be sure it’s stable in case I would have to leave. So that way they’ll know how to handle certain situations,” Loza said.

College of Alameda Student President Natay Myers

Interview conducted November 30, 2023 via phone call. (Photo courtesy: Natay Myers)

Natay Myers has been with Peralta since 1997. She has attended classes at multiple campuses, but has felt especially comfortable at College of Alameda. Part of this is due to her professors.

“On campus it was so easy and accessible to get to them if I needed them for anything. They were so wonderful in that they were willing to work with me in classes and different aspects of school,” Myers said.

Currently Myers is keeping quite busy pursuing multiple degrees including: Social Behavioral Science, High Honors Sociology, and African American Studies. She is also a mother of two daughters. 

As president of the Associated Students of College of Alameda (ASCOA), Myers wants to see the organization expand to take on a greater role. 

“We are trying to recruit people that really are interested in working with the students [and] being able to stand up for our students,” Myers said.

Currently ASCOA has only three members, so an expansion would have a great effect on the group’s ability to function. 

Myers also has some thoughts on what she wants the new Peralta chancellor to address.

Myers said, “I believe at the core of it all, Peralta is pretty good at helping students, but we need to do more as far as helping our students. Peralta still needs to be student-centered […] meaning that everything that needs to happen needs to be student driven.”

Laney College Student President Camila Yurivilca

Interview conducted in-person December 4, 2023. (Photo courtesy: Laney College website)

Camila Yurivilca originally came from Peru at age 17 to gain her college education. She is studying to major in architecture with the goal of transferring to UC Berkeley. She desires to take the gained skills from her education back to her family to assist with a family business and to help her community. 

“My family has a business. Architecture, business, construction, real estate. [My education] is a way for me to help my community,” Yurivilca said.

Yurivilca was inspired by the architect, Diébédo Francis Kéré, who is originally from the African country Burkina Faso. Kéré came from a community with limited resources and utilized his skills and education to improve the lives of his family and neighbors.

“[Kéré is] an architect who won the Pritzker award. He made a school based with clay. A really luxurious school. It was a low cost. The problem was that they didn’t have access to education. He helped build the whole community out there,” Yurivilca said. 

As President of the Associated Students of Laney College (ASLC), Yurivilca wants to see some changes at Laney to develop the student community and be more inviting. Perhaps with some more welcoming environments, the Laney campus could become more lively and vibrant. 

“Build the community. I know we are a community college, but we can do better. Build some community spaces. We could have more welcoming spaces, like more plants and things,” Yurivilca said. 

About the Contributor
Satch Alvarez, Staff Writer
Satch is entering his second semester at Laney College. Originally from the LA area, he moved with his parents to the Midwest and stayed there until receiving his engineering degree from Ohio State. After some years of working in engineering and sales, he has moved to the East Bay to spend time with family and develop himself. Now, he is excited to be a member of the Citizen to explore the field of journalism. In his leisure time, Satch likes to run, explore neighborhoods,  and cook some new stuff.
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