Vice-presidential candidate profile: Mariana Gonzalez


Student Government vice-presidential candidate Mariana Gonzalez. 

Jake Tubbs

Current Student Government Vice Speaker Mariana Gonzalez is a vice-presidential candidate for this spring’s election as she and her presidential candidate, Anna Olson, look to take office next fall.

One of the many roles the vice president plays in Student Government is to conduct Senate meetings and hear bills. With $2.6 million under control every year, the vice president is a part of the process in determining where these funds go.

Gonzalez, a senior and second-year student in political science, marketing and public relations, has always been involved in government wherever it has presented itself. Being a part of the student council and the business club in high school, Gonzalez prioritized taking part in Student Government once she arrived at Iowa State. 

From Eagle Grove, Iowa, a predominantly white area, Gonzalez has been a minority for all of her life. Rather than this distinction hindering her, Gonzalez used her status as a way to provide a unique perspective to her colleagues.  

“I’ve learned how to most effectively interact with the people who surround me; I learned that the most effective way is to be educational rather than confrontational,” Gonzalez said. “… God made me a person of color and gave me the educational heart that He did. I hope that everybody who gets to interact with me leaves with a sense of feeling valued but also being educated with a perspective that they hadn’t had previously. You’re a product of your surroundings and your upbringing, and so not everybody has had the blessing of having the experience of being a person of color.”

With diversity and inclusion a pillar in their campaign, Gonzalez and Olson are looking to support the Divine Nine Plot project, a project that helps raise awareness about Black sororities and fraternities, implements house training regarding diversity and inclusion and supports the Iowa State Inter-Residence Hall Association for an increase in awareness of where gender neutral bathrooms are located on campus and biweekly meetings with multicultural groups to help their ideas across Iowa State. 

Gonzalez does not just want to stop at Iowa State. She has goals of becoming a congresswoman, a U.S. senator and eventually have a position in the White House; Gonzalez hopes to help serve people in government for a while. 

Gonzalez started her first semester in Ames on first year council. During that time, Gonzalez saw an opening when an Inner-Residence Hall Association Senate spot became vacant. Filling the spot, Gonzalez gained  experience as she partook in the Public Relations Committee and in Senate meetings. 

With a year of experience under her belt, Gonzalez then ran for a Senate spot representing the Panhellenic Council in the spring of last year. With 56.24 percent of the vote, Gonzalez won her election. 

Then the pandemic hit. 

Gonzalez aided the transition of taking government meetings online as well as becoming a Cyclone Aid during the summer.

With all her experience in Student Government and helping it transition during the pandemic, Gonzalez said it has made her better because of it. 

“We’re going to need strong leaders who can lead the student body into a new normal throughout this next semester,” Gonzalez said. “That experience really challenged me and made me a better leader for it.”

Along with keeping everyone safe, Gonzalez said she wants to be a leader who everyone on campus can feel comfortable and feel free to share their thoughts, in government and everywhere. When asked about what the end of her potential term will look like, Gonzalez hopes Student Government is an enthusiastic, inviting atmosphere where anyone can speak their mind.

“… [We should be] bringing more students to Student Government and saying, ‘You don’t have to be a policymaker, you don’t have to be a political science major. If you’re passionate about sustainability, if you’re passionate about PR, academic affairs, affordability, there are so many areas that students can join Student Government,’” Gonzalez said. “You can’t tell me that there’s only a handful of leaders. I would say, there are leaders out there, it’s just a matter of us, you know, creating a welcoming environment so that they’re attracted to it.” 

Click here for access to more information about the Olson-Gonzalez campaign.