You have probably heard about him. John Joanino is a familiar name both on campus and On The Hill. He is currently serving as the President of USAC as well as a Program Coordinator for De Neve CD. On The Hill managed to secure a meeting with John despite his busy schedule and had a fruitful discussion about USAC, school and residential life.
John first came to USAC through meeting former External Vice President Jesse Melgar, who attended his high school in Riverside. Starting out as an intern, John managed to work his way up to become President of the entire student body. Although John has earned it, he believes that it is a huge privilege. He details, “You know – it’s hard; you have to make hard decisions. You have to stand up for the issues that impact students”.
John recognizes that he must take care to listen to different concerns and opinions voiced by the student body and acknowledges that at times, it is a thankless job. However, he knows that his position is important because it allows for him to improve his environment socially and politically as a whole.
Curious about how he came to be involved in so many different activities, we decided to ask John for advice to those who are interested in being more involved both on campus and On The Hill. John recommends that residents find their community. He believes that once people find out what they are passionate about, once they get involved, they will be doing whatever they love and be happier doing it. He believes that if someone decides to follow this advice they will grow as a person, despite the initial discomfort that may come with joining a new activity. In fact, John cites waiting for BruinBash in his freshman year is one of his most favorite memories of UCLA, as the friends he made that day waiting in line are now some of his closest friends.
When asked about what his favorite On The Hill thing is, John cites the community remarking, “even the term on the hill implies there is a community present here. And that’s not something you get in other campuses.” As for changes to the hill he would like to see, John believes that the bruin card center should be put back onto the hill. He gives the example that if one were to lose their Bruincard on a Friday, they would have to wait until Monday, which he believes is both a safety and inconvenience concern. He also wants to make the hill a more inclusive place. However, John thinks “we’re making strides and I think that there are improvements we can still make – we need to make sure the place is a safe place for everyone.” He cites the gender-neutral community present in our living areas now and that we should strive to make the hill more accessible.
Lastly, when asked what he had done this summer, John says that he was a student at a special public policy fellowship at Berkeley. He learned there a lot about political and safety issues, and feels like he learned a lot about both society and his life. He was also in San Francisco during the time in which Pride weekend occurred, and he loved the energy and progressiveness of it. “It was pretty insane,” he says. “Kind of seeing all that come together. It was remarkable. It was actually living in a monumental time in history.”
After our interview with John, we’ve come to the conclusion that John is a politically passionate young man who will achieve great things. We look forward to seeing what he does next!
Interview by Jerry Cheung