Meet 2020-21 Associated Student Government President-Elect, Joey Abeyta

The University of San Diego’s Associated Student Government (ASG) held its online student leadership election for the 2020-21 academic year on April 16-17. Two positions were decided: Joey Abeyta, a junior political science major, was voted as the ASG President-elect. Justin Daus, a junior engineering major, is the ASG Vice President-elect.

2020-21 ASG Prez-Elect

The role of president is a key role on campus. Student government members take on great responsibility and must bring passion, dedication and a desire to lead USD's undergraduate student body and do it to the best of their ability.

As the 2019-20 school year winds down with the campus community experiencing something it has not experienced before — a health pandemic in the United States and abroad due to COVID-19 —Abeyta, Daus and the rest of the ASG executive board and senators will be leading the charge for USD. Spring 2020 classes were moved to remote learning in mid-March, but no decision has been made yet if USD’s fall 2020 classes will be taught online, too.

Ryan T. Blystone, USD News Center editor, caught up with the ASG president-elect and asked the Rio Rancho, New Mexico resident a few questions as he, Daus and the rest of their team look ahead to the 2020-21 school year.

USD News Center: You and the USD student community are doing classes online this semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What has this experience been like for you? 

Joey Abeyta: It has been a unique experience. I appreciate how my professors have been pouring their hearts into making the transition to online classes as smooth as possible. As for me, I have mostly been focusing on getting classwork done and exercising at home in New Mexico. Making sure I stick to a schedule of working on class assignments and attending classes has helped keep me busy most of the time. The main difference, of course, is the lack of the social aspect that campus life provides. I miss all my friends and the opportunity to create new friendships.

USDNC: What can you take from this semester’s experience to enhance leadership, understanding and actions that ASG will employ when students do return to campus?

Abeyta: I think we can all learn that nothing is guaranteed. I came into college thinking that I would be able to enjoy all four years in its entirety in San Diego. Obviously, things have changed. To make the connection to ASG, I think this could light a fire under all members to help voice the changes they wish to make and act on it as soon as possible. There is no promise that there will be a tomorrow to pursue the change you want to make.

USDNC: You’ve not held any previous roles within ASG. How will this affect your decision making? Will you lean on other ASG executive board members, at least initially?

Abeyta: I will undoubtedly have to rely on those with experience within ASG, initially. The more established members will have more experience and understand the logistics of how to get things done. That said, I do not think ASG experience is necessary to help understand what the student body wants. I plan on combining the expertise of my ASG peers with listening to the student body as a whole to help influence my decisions.

USDNC: During the April 15 ASG debate you mentioned being president in multiple high school grade levels and a student organization, as well as attended a leadership conference and did a legislative internship. How do these experiences prepare you to be ASG President?

Abeyta: The legislative internship highlighted the importance of listening to what the constituents want. Civil servants are to work on behalf of the interest of those he serves, regardless of whether he/she agrees with them or not. Attending a leadership conference and being a part of my high school's student government helped me to enhance my organizational skills. As student body president, many charitable, sports, and dance events were held. For these events to be carried out smoothly, organization and time management skills were needed for my everyday life to be balanced.

USDNC: As a political science major, how does your USD education inform your new role? Do you have a favorite professor/class to point to for your answer?

Abeyta: The number of things I have learned as a political science major and that I plan on utilizing is endless. However, something that stands out to me is compromising. In Professor Evan Crawford’s class on Congress, we spoke a lot about the give and take of being a representative. There will never be an instance where a bill is turned into law immediately. There will always have to be edits and compromise. In ASG, I understand there will be very few instances in which all members agree on a plan of action to address a problem. However, I realize through compromise and editing, that the result will be one that will work in the best interest of the student body, resulting from the arduous process.

USDNC: Have you met USD President James T. Harris? If not, what is your planned approach in working with him and other high-ranking officials to have a productive year?

Abeyta: I have not interacted with President Harris during my time at USD. I plan on valuing the experience and know-how that the administration has. My approach to working with President Harris and any other school official will be the same as it is for anyone. I will hear and value everything they have to say. When I disagree with something, I will voice my opinion in a respectful manner that is constructive. I know that both parties want to do what is best for all current and future students, so I will do my absolute best to make our efforts cohesive.

USDNC: Your extracurricular activities at USD include Athletics, Greek Life and study abroad. Assess your USD student experience so far and what expectations do you have for 2020-21?

Abeyta: The fraternity I am currently an associate member of is Pi Kappa Phi. I did study abroad in Austria. I was on the men’s crew team for two years. My USD experience has been amazing so far. I have been able to participate in numerous extracurricular activities while having the full support and help of all of my professors. I expect the upcoming year to be extremely busy, but I’m excited to work with ASG and finish out my USD academic career strong.

USDNC: What hobbies do you have when you’re not taking classes or doing classwork. What do you do for fun? 

Abeyta: When I’m not in class or busy with anything else, I like going for runs along Mission Beach, watching movies from any genre, and going to try new restaurants with friends around San Diego.

USDNC: I’m speaking to you today as the newly elected ASG President. What would be a few things you’d like to say a year from now that you’re proud of accomplishing at USD? 

Abeyta: I would like for USD to become a more welcoming and accommodating campus for those from all walks of life. To get this done, I will rely on various student organizations to voice how they would like to see that change enacted. I would also like to make ASG a more welcoming forum for students to voice their opinions. I think every opinion should be heard, no matter how disagreeable I may find it.

To learn more about USD's Associated Student Government, please visit the website:


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