Angel Mandujano-Guevara has gone down several paths during his time at Oregon State. As Memorial Union president, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, co-chair of the Chicanx Student Movement of Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A.) and prospective member educator of Omega Delta Phi Fraternity Inc., he works to make all people feel welcome, included and heard.
Even small, symbolic gestures can be deeply meaningful. The Memorial Union flag ceremony is a yearly tradition where the flags in the MU Concourse are updated to represent the home countries of all international students. As MU president, Mandujano-Guevara led the discussion to change the ceremony after a student from Puerto Rico pointed out to him that the flags of U.S. territories were not part of the display. The ceremony now includes these territories, and a student from Puerto Rico had the opportunity to personally hang her flag.
“It was right after Hurricane Maria hit,” Mandujano-Guevara says. “It wasn’t just something emotional for her to see her country represented, it was a sense of pride that commemorated the resilience and strength of her people.”
Mandujano-Guevara is the third student to serve on the university’s Board of Trustees, and he represents both students’ voices and the people of Oregon on issues like tuition increases and reducing the university’s carbon footprint. In M.E.Ch.A., he provides information to high school and college students on the decolonized history of the United States, in addition to socioeconomic and political situations in other countries. And through Omega Delta Phi, he makes prospective and new members feel comfortable and supported throughout the intake process.
Among the many people who have helped Mandujano-Guevara get to where he is today, he credits the late Oscar Montemayor, former associate director of academic success in the Office of Diversity and Cultural Engagement. From day one, Montemayor went out of his way to make Mandujano-Guevara feel welcome and showed him all the opportunities he had to get involved at Oregon State.
Mandujano-Guevara would like to offer new students the same kindness and guidance he received. He says building a more inclusive campus community starts with really listening to students’ needs and taking a more holistic approach to retention, not just increasing the number of underrepresented students.
“We have to make the effort to show our students of color that we are actively doing things to keep them here, to make them feel supported rather than just a diversity number,” he says.
After he graduates, Mandujano-Guevara plans to continue working toward this goal. He will attend the OSU Graduate School and work with the Human Services Resource Center, one of the largest departments on campus that focuses on serving underrepresented students. From there, he hopes to become director of a university cultural center or work in an office of institutional diversity.
Mandujano-Guevara’s future path is open to unlimited possibilities — all because he was surrounded by others who empowered him to pursue his dream.