RUSGA Presidential Candidate Profile: Awah Tilong

By: Thomas Jones

Though Awah Tilong’s hobbies may lie in the realms of hair, fashion, makeup and movies her job, as she’d see it, is implementing the change that Regis needs. When met with the daunting question of “Why did you decide to run for Student Body President?” Tilong didn’t need any time to collect herself or formulate an answer, she immediately responded, “Regis lacks the fundamental basics of what college is supposed to look like. College is known as formative, fundamental years where you gain the structure necessary for adulthood. Regis lacks the opportunity for a real college experience. Everything is so serious all the time, we need to address important issues and also enjoy one another at the same time.”

With this being Tilong’s platform for her campaign and her overarching goal if elected as RUSGA President, she continued on to speak on specific actions she would also take as President of RUSGA. One of the main aspects of Regis which Tilong seeks to change is the quality and kind of events which we are having on campus. Tilong states, “We have so many events on how we’re different! Like damn, how many events on how we’re different do you need? I know that we’re different!” In reference to how Tilong would shift these events she responded, “I want more events that are fun and that students will actually want to come to and want to attend that still strike at these important issues in a more effective, inclusive and just overall more enjoyable way.”

Tilong sees one of the main ways of doing this being to, “Have more events where they [Regis] invite the outside community, other colleges do a lot of that and Regis doesn’t. I want to incorporate the broader community in more of our events which therefore encourages Regis to make better quality and larger events.” While Tilong certainly has many good ideas for Regis, she also has the credentials to back up her touted experience in effecting the kind of change she wishes to.

While interviewing Tilong in Walker’s Pub I quickly realized that her run for RUSGA President has been a long time in the making, spanning as far back as her first semester of freshman year here at Regis when she was thinking of leaving, but instead decided to stay to change those things which she disagreed with. This is something Tilong has consistently done while here at Regis, refusing to accept how things are and instead changing them for the better.

This attitude is reflected in her work as an RA, as she states, “I love being an RA, I feel that at Regis there is a lot of stigma’s around RA’s and as one I can work to reduce that stigma and change those ideas about RA’s,” as well as her reaction to policies she finds unfair such as the former rule within the University that stated that one can’t be involved in both Resident Life and RUSGA. This was a rule which Tilong was instrumental in helping get overturned due to the leadership qualities she sees cultivated as an RA that are also easily cross-applied to working in RUSGA.

Tilong’s accomplishments don’t stop at the Resident Life and RUSGA offices though, as she is also involved in several other clubs and offices here on campus. One of Tilong’s largest leadership positions here on campus is that of BSA President. One of the accomplishments she’s most proud of as the leader of BSA for the past two years is, “Getting students together that are different and diverse, the majority of BSA is actually not black and I’m really proud of that.” Some of the more specific events and actions Tilong has taken as President of BSA include, but are not limited to: getting a space in Clarke Hall that BSA can call their own and use to meet in every week, helping create and host on campus events such as the Colin Kaepernick conversation, the BLM rally, the Black Out at the Regis basketball game as well as the conversations with faculty and students that followed the basketball game which all took place this past year.

When asked where Tilong gets her talents for being able to bring people together and host events she references her past work in both the Diversity and Violence Prevention offices which she states, “[These offices] showed me what needs to change. They showed me what resources are helpful in creating change and not just good looking. It also helped me to gain the confidence necessary to make change and to stand up for what I believe in.”

RUSGA Candidate Annelise Pehr Question and Answer

By Emily Summers, Staff Writer

Here’s a Q&A with RUSGA Student Body President candidate Annelise Pehr. Voting is open now and you can find the link in your email.

Highlander: What position are you running for?

Annelise Pehr: I am running for student body president

Highlander: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

AP: I am currently finishing out my junior year and I am a double major in Sociology and Peace & Justice Studies with a minor in Spanish. I grew up in Los Angeles, California as the only daughter of a Mexican Catholic mother and Jewish father. I never imagined I would end up in Denver, Colorado let alone Regis. In the spring of my senior year my parents and I came to visit another school in Denver that I had been admitted to, but I disliked everything about it, so in an effort to not make the trip a bust, my dad remembered that there was a Catholic university in Denver. We hopped in our rental car and walked around Regis during the infamous Ranger Day blizzard that I have only heard stories about from upperclassmen. I filled out the application in our hotel room later that evening and I was admitted in May, but with not enough aid. Fast forward through two months of planning to attend my safety school, Regis was able to give me

enough aid to attend. With about three weeks notice, I packed my bags and moved to a new state where I would make a place that I am lucky enough to call my home today.

Highlander: What is the focus of your campaign?

AP: The focus of my campaign is to make all people feel that they have a home at Regis, especially those that have been underserved such as commuters and all members of affinity groups. I have spent my entire week campaigning by talking to and asking students what they want to see and overwhelmingly I have listened to students’ deep desires for wanting to belong in this space no matter how “weird” they are and that same desire goes from people that identify as conservative Catholics to queer atheists.

Highlander: What is one thing you would like to improve most at Regis?

AP: As of right now my campaign focuses on three main tenets, but one specific facet of Regis that I would like to improve most is how RUSGA represents students. This year RUSGA went through a massive renovation in an effort to make it a governing body that does effectively represent the diverse voices in our student body, but it still has a long way to go. I plan to improve RUSGA involvement by advocating for policies that train student leaders to give them the tools necessary in order to be able to make the change that they themselves deem necessary within our bureaucratic structures.

Highlander: What qualities do you possess that make you the most qualified for the position?

AP: Well, first and foremost, I am a great listener which is an incredibly important skill for a president to have. In order to be an effective president my job is not to uphold my own interests, but it is to uphold those of the student body which I can do by listening to my constituents. I am also a competent communicator in which I demonstrated this year through my championing of IgnatianQ, an effort to put Regis at the forefront of queer inclusivity on Catholic campuses. I worked to bring IgnatianQ's national movement to the Regis campus through a year long campaign to bolster allyship and education around LGBTQ+ identities. Through this work I have not only learned how to acquire administrative support on student movements, but also shown long-term dedication and commitment to projects that students care about on campus. Lastly, I am patient. I am a realist and I know that in a year long presidency a lot of empty promises can be made, but that is not who I am. I promise to have depth rather than breadth in the policies RUSGA takes on next year to represent you and to be patient in gathering student voices in our paving the path for progress.

Q: Why should students vote for you?

A: Students should vote for me because I am experienced with the workings of RUSGA, I have a successful working relationship with administrators, and I am a fierce advocate for student needs.

*The only edits to this transcript were made for punctuation. All content represents the original discussion of the reporter and candidate.