A head shot of the Ruiz Martinezes
A group photo of the Ruiz-Martinezes

Whether it's advocating for student needs in Washington, D.C. or planning a campus-wide event, brother and sister Dyami Ruiz-Martinez and Nelva Ruiz-Martinez are happy to do it together. The siblings are in Associated Student Government leadership, with Nelva serving as president and Dyami as executive vice president.

"We really got to experience student life at its prime," Dyami said. "For a lot of new students, their whole college experience has simply been behind a screen. That was our motivation to get into student government — to kick start student life back." Nelva agrees, and has found "it's also been really rewarding to advocate for students. That's been our driving force."

The Ontario residents say that being in student government has strengthened their bond, making them an effective team. "We have a cohesive work environment, and that's one of the things that's helped us," Dyami said. "There has been a lot of critical thinking and problem solving, and it's good to have a wide range of diverse ideas."

Recently, Nelva and Dyami traveled to Washington, D.C., where they attended the Community College National Legislative Summit and visited the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities headquarters. While in D.C., they learned more about internship opportunities for SBVC students, made policy recommendations on streamlining the SNAP application process, and met with several California lawmakers, including California's United States Senator Alex Padilla and United States Representative Pete Aguilar.

Dyami and Nelva are both thankful to Chancellor Diana Z. Rodriguez, the Chancellor's Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees for funding the trip and extending the invitation to SBVC's student government. Both hope to inspire other students who have never been involved in student government to jump right in, and say being in leadership has helped sharpen their public speaking skills and helped them to interactwith others in a more professional manner.