The following is the second of a series of articles on previous ASGCC presidents employed on campus. Featured in this issue is program specialist Victor Castellanos, who was ASGCC president from 2000-2001.
For program specialist Victor Castellanos, being ASGCC president involved several new changes to the college and a great deal of political action.
“There were a lot of firsts for that year that I’m very proud of,” said Castellanos.
One of the main highlights of Castellanos’ presidency was the opening of the J. Walter Smith Student Center in late 2000, which became the permanent ASGCC headquarters as well as a place for clubs to congregate.
“For a couple of years previous to that the legislature was kind of living off surrogate homes. We had the old campus center that used to be part of the first floor if what is now the Sierra Madre building, and from there we were relocated to trailer type bungalows like the San Fernando complex,” said Castellanos.
According to Castellanos, in 2000 GCC created a time capsule scheduled to be opened in 2025, with objects from the era placed in it as well as a letter written by Castellanos addressed to the future students of the college.
“It’s definitely in front of the Administration building somewhere,” said Castellanos. “If the building is modified or something, we’re going to find a steel case with quite a few things of our time. It was a ‘start of the millennium’ type of thing.”
Other firsts included the introduction of the Most Outstanding Club Award and the creation of the ASGCC website.
Under Castellanos, the student population was involved in political actions, similar to the recent push for voter registration and information prior to the election.
“In 2000 there were a lot of propositions and state initiatives at that time, we were involved with a lot of the phone banking and getting the students pumped about registering to vote – a lot of things that you see today,” said Castellanos. We were very, very involved.”
He was the first to visit Sacramento with faculty to lobby for educational issues, an activity that continues to this day.
“They were up there to discuss their own issues, and [ASGCC members] went along to advocate on those issues and of course issues that we thought were important to ourselves,” said Castellanos.
The trip to Sacramento inspired Castellanos to move out of his comfort zone.
“Something told me that maybe this is what I wanted to do, and it was because of those lobby days that I decided to leave my home here and go to Sacramento and give it a shot,” said Castellanos.
After finishing his courses at GCC and earning associate degrees in art and science, Castellanos worked in admissions and records for a couple of years before transferring to Sacramento State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 2005.
Next: Former ASGCC president and oputreach coordinator Henan Joof.