Ashley Gonzalez-Ferraro is a third-year senior here at Florida State University. She is a first-generation college student pursuing a dual degree in Criminology and International Affairs with a minor in Political Science and a concentration in Philosophy.
If Ashley wins this upcoming election for Student Government Association (SGA) Treasurer, she will be the first woman to hold the position in over 11 years! She is ready to smash this glass ceiling and not only perform, but also excel in the role. But, don’t take it from us at HCFSU, hear it from her.
Her Campus (HC): How would you describe your qualifications for SGA Treasurer?
Ashley Gonzalez-Ferraro (AG): I’m the most qualified candidate for the office of Student Body Treasurer. I have directly allocated about $44 million of SGA money. I have sponsored two budget bills, which total $28.5 million on their own. I have also sponsored two sweeping bills. I created the budget that the Student Body Treasurer will administer next year. My experience with the Budget Committee and Student Senate has made me the most knowledgeable candidate on Student Body Statutes, Finance Code and the University Policy found in the SGA Financial Manual. None of these things can be said or claimed by other candidates for office.
HC: What are some goals you have for SGA?
AG: I have many goals for SGA, but a major one is transparency in the management and expenditure of your Activity and Service Fees. As I mentioned, our budget for the 2022-2023 school year was $14.6 million, and that money comes from the $12.86 per credit hour you pay as part of your tuition. Florida law gives us complete control over the allocation of that money. However, university policy and university administrators have placed various restrictions, making a large part of the sum non-negotiable in allocations. I would like to reverse those decisions and prioritize the students.
HC: Can you describe what inspired you to run for SGA?
AG: I’ve been in SGA since my first year, in multiple capacities. This will be my third Spring election, so running for SGA isn’t anything new to me (side note: I’ve won them all!). My inspiration to join and continue within SGA has always been the same, the expansion of representation and funding for diverse segments of the student body. I’ve been the only person of my identity in many SGA spaces at times, and I want to open doors for others to join me in these spaces and represent their identities.
HC: How has your experience as a first-generation college student shaped your experience at FSU?
AG: The entirety of my experience at Florida State is shaped around being first-generation. Being a part of the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE), I learned to be empowered by that identity rather than afraid of it. FSU is an incredibly rich campus, full of opportunity, and exploring the depths of what it has to offer is still one of my favorite things to do.
HC: How has your experience as a woman of color at a predominantly white institution shaped your experience at FSU?
AG: Navigating an unfamiliar space with the lens of a marginalized community is incredibly difficult, no matter what space it is. Often, being a woman of color, especially one in multiple leadership capacities, you’re heavily scrutinized and held to an incredibly high standard. You’re expected to be perfect. Unfortunately, when you inevitably fail to uphold that expectation, the dissent is far greater than those faced by your male, caucasian counterparts. Although you can argue this standard has pushed me to break glass ceilings, it has also placed false labels on me that hinder my FSU experience every day.
HC: How will you use these experiences as you run for the SGA election?
AG: A large part of why I’m pursuing the office of Student Body Treasurer is my identities and the glass ceilings I’ve been able to shatter. If I have the honor to win my election, I’ll be the first female Student Body Treasurer in 11 years. Learning how to navigate leadership with the identities I hold and with my knowledge of the complexity of intersectionality, I will lead a campaign that is sensitive to our differences and fervent in our commitment to truth and respect. I hope to translate that to the office of Student Body Treasurer if I’m given the chance!
“If I have the honor to win my election, I’ll be the first female Student Body Treasurer in 11 years.”
HC: What accomplishments are you most proud of? Why?
AG: My biggest accomplishment within my leadership positions is chairing and passing a $14 million budget within the SGA Student Senate, $14,615,441 to be exact. Within this, my main goal was to ensure diversity and equity in funding were achieved. My budget committee and I prioritized the increased allocation of all SGA identity-based agencies. We were able to reverse the harmful precedent set in 2014 of targeting the agencies in budget cuts. I successfully obtained an increase of $18,000 for the Black Student Union, $14,000 for the Pride Student Union, $7,000 for the Hispanic Latinx Student Union and the Veteran Student Union, $6,000 for the Asian American Student Union, $5,000 for the Women Student Union and a starting sum of $20,000 for the newly-budgeted Jewish Student Union.
HC: What do you want the students of FSU to know about you going into this SGA election?
AG: I want students at FSU to know that I am the most qualified candidate for this position, and I am committed to the advancement of student life in all aspects of the phrase. I cannot promise you that all the changes I want to see will happen under my administration, but I can promise that I will do as much as I can to ensure your needs and wants are being addressed and discussed in all the spaces I have access to.