Candidates for AS President and Vice President: Rebecca Grinberg and Nikolas Morrison-Welch

Photo courtesy of AS
Presidential candidate Rebecca Grinberg.

Sloane Bozzi, Assistant Campus News Editor

Leadership comes naturally to Rebecca Grinberg, who had involved herself in multiple organizations on campus before deciding to run for Associated Students president.

“My parents come from the Soviet Union, so I was the first generation to be born in the United States,” said Grinberg. “Growing up, I had this really large motivation to really succeed and do better for myself and for my family.”

Joining Camp Matador as an incoming freshman, Grinberg became interested in learning about other students in the class of 2021. Since then, she’s taken leadership positions at various student organizations.

Grinberg joined sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, where she previously served on the executive board, and served as the president of the Russian Club at Hillel 818. As an environmental and occupational health major, she served as recruitment chair for the department’s student association. Currently, Grinberg serves as treasurer of Chabad at CSUN and chair of Personnel for AS.

“I’m really inspired by CSUN,” said Grinberg. “That’s what sparked my engagement.”

Her running mate, Nikolas Morrison-Welch will serve as her vice president, if elected. Like Grinberg, Morrison-Welch is an environmental and occupational health major, and he too has been a part of multiple community organizations. At a young age Morrison-Welch started Boy Scouts, and later became an Eagle Scout. He gravitated towards student leadership in middle school and in high school.

Born in Inglewood, Morrison-Welch said his family climate with separated parents contributed to his ability to adapt to different situations.

“That helped me with code-switching and just being comfortable being a chameleon,” Morrison-Welch said.

After coming to CSUN, it took some time for him to get involved in student organizations. Applying to Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research, an undergraduate biomedical research training program, helped him get out of his shell.

“That transition for me didn’t really happen until I joined BUILD PODER,” said Morrison-Welch. “I applied on a whim, and got a scholarship, and that community building that they did and hosting us in the dorms over the summer was my first real experience that I felt really integrated into the CSUN community.”

Morrison-Welch currently serves as the president of BUILD PODER, as well as the student senator of the College of Health and Human Development.

Grinberg and Morrison-Welch are running on the slate “Matadors Empowered,” which leads with an emphasis on access to CSUN-created programs. Grinberg said she wants to connect students to resources they need, rather than speak on behalf of them.

“I wouldn’t want to be a voice for the students,” said Grinberg. “I would like to be a voice on behalf of the students. I think as students, we’re very capable of speaking for ourselves. I’m not asking for students to come to me and come tell me their issues and problems, and then go tell somebody else. Instead, I want to give students the resources to do that for themselves.”
In the AS presidential debate last Tuesday, Morrison-Welch touched on the importance of student access to mental health resources, something he believes CSUN has been “inadequately able to provide.”

“School is the perfect place to address mental health issues, housing issues and food insecurity because the foundations for those resources are there,” he said.

Both Grinberg and Morrison-Welch believe in enhancing the transparency of CSUN administration to students, something they’ve come back to throughout their campaign.

“One thing I was really dismayed about was coming in and knowing that the senators were supposed to have a stronger voice to the administration than the average student and that finding accessibility of that to be really difficult,” said Morrison-Welch.

If elected as AS president, Grinberg would play a part in the presidential search to replace CSUN President Dianne Harrison. Grinberg said she is looking for “someone who seeks advice from the students before making the decisions.”

“I think that the administration listens, but they don’t always react in the way that the students feel is acceptable,” said Grinberg.

Grinberg is endorsed by current AS President Diana Vicente, but was challenged during the AS Presidential Debate by her opponents, who said it was unethical.

Vicente endorsed Grinberg in an Instagram post, saying in part, “make sure you vote for THE most qualified candidate.”

“I don’t think that it was unethical for a student who also has a vote to support a candidate that has a proven record of being successful in her administration,” said Grinberg.

“I will be transparent if elected,” said Grinberg. “Transparency comes with being a public figure. And that’s something I strive to be, even now. I hope that I will be able to maintain an individual relationship with everybody but at the same time be transparent with everybody as well.”