New CSGA Executive Vice President Hopes to ‘Advocate’ For Students


John Iose

Audrey Pilar has become the new CSGA executive vice president for the 2022-23 academic year after winning a special election to fill a vacancy in the position.

Prior to becoming a sophomore senator for the Chaminade Student Government Association in the fall of 2021, Audrey Pilar considered herself soft-spoken with a small circle and unfamiliar to the world of student government.

“My intention to join [student government] was to be able to step out of my comfort zone, speak for other students, and also find my own voice in advocacy,” Pilar said in an interview in October.

Just over a year later, on Oct. 11, the third-year Forensic Science major was announced as the elected CSGA executive vice president, a role dedicated to promoting, listening to, and uplifting student voices through the Senate. The main responsibilities of Pilar’s new position include serving as the vice chair of the CSGA executive board and the chair of the CSGA Senate, which is the branch in charge of student advocacy and outreach.

Vice chair of the CSGA executive board means that Pilar must step up in the absence of the executive president, Pamela Oda. As a member of the executive board, she also votes on policies and procedures brought to CSGA meetings.

As chair of the CSGA Senate, the 20-year-old presides over all Senate meetings and oversees 10 senators (student-athlete, commuter, junior class, on-campus resident, etc.) as they voice concerns from students that were raised to them. From there, they reach out to the appropriate campus partners or administrators to start the conversations necessary to remedy those issues.

Beyond this, the senators currently serve on five committees targeting the improvement of the Chaminade community: Academic Affairs; Campus Sustainability and Beautification; Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; Marketing, Outreach and Communications; and Student Life and Welfare.

Since CSGA elections normally take place every spring semester for the following academic year, Pilar stepped into the position through a special election. The vacancy came about after reincumbent EVP Reina Abegayle Pagtakhan stepped down in mid-September to focus on her future career endeavors.

For Pilar to win the election, she needed to obtain 50% plus one vote of all the ballots casted. (If 100 ballots are casted, 51 votes is necessary to secure the victory.) As an unopposed candidate, she received 100% of all 30 ballots casted.

“The main thing I want to do during my term is get the word out,” Pilar said. “I feel as though not many people know we’re a group of students who of course are here to advocate for their student life. We don’t know what issues and problems there are if students don’t come up to us and talk about it.”

Senators smile for a picture during their bi-weekly meeting. (From left to right: Regine Familaran, Audrey Pilar, Reina Abegayle Pagtakhan, Keila Anderson, Aleeyah Lemons, and Danica Palmer). (Photo courtesy of Audrey Pilar)

Through the guidance Pilar received from being Paghtakhan’s senator-at-large, and serving as her senator in the previous academic year, Pilar “felt natural” stepping into the role of executive vice president.

During her term as sophomore class senator, she served on the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging committee. Some of her contributions to the past year’s Senate include organizing a Ukraine donation and prayer at Extravaganza back in April and connecting with various staff members to collaborate on JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) initiatives.

Pilar went on to attribute her preparation to be EVP to Ashley Yoshikawa, a previous senator for the 2021-22 academic year, as well as OSAL activities coordinator Andrew Peter Ancheta II and former OSAL director Joseph Granado, who were the advisors for the Senate last year.

Ancheta II still serves as advisor to the Senate, as well as advisor of CSGA as a whole. As a class of 2021 alumnus, Ancheta II held the position of EVP during the senior year of his undergraduate career.

“Her primary strength is the fact that she really cares about the campus community and the student body,” Ancheta II said. “That really drives her to be motivated to complete the work that being the executive vice president entails.”

Pilar said the part of her new role she’s most looking forward to is getting to work with her new senators and help guide them in finding their own voices.

“Most of them are underclassmen,” Pilar said, “so there’s a lot of bright, new energy. The past two meetings were filled with a lot of new ideas and excitement, and motivation to do things.”

Regine Familaran, Pilar’s now senator-at-large, admits feeling pressure as she steps up to her new position for this term, but stays reassured through Pilar’s solid character.

“She’s very open-minded and she’s really kind,” said Familaran, a second-year Psychology major. “She’s really good at listening to you so whenever you have any concerns, you can easily go talk to her and tell her anything.”

Pilar has her sights targeted on increasing student awareness to the purpose of the Senate. She hopes to accomplish this by introducing a centralized digital location for students to express their ideas to the Senate, like a Google form. Beyond this, students are welcome to visit the CSGA office located right outside the Vi and Paul Loo Student Center in Ching Hall to speak with a senator or CSGA representative.

While many students hesitate to vocalize their concerns or even vote in student government elections, some of the most recent changes CSGA and the Senate has implemented were because students spoke up. CSGA contributed to the renovation of Zuberano Lawn and purchased new equipment for the Carlson Fitness Center, which many students now enjoy.

“There needs to be some kind of educational piece in getting students to understand that their elected officials in student government do make some kind of difference on campus,” Ancheta II said. “…Those were decisions based on elected officials, so if students want to see certain things happen on campus, then they need to vote for the people who will make those things happen.”

Pilar also aspires to create or strengthen an integrated network between alumni and current students to provide them with professionals who can serve as resource and mentors. This ensures students have access to job opportunities, internships, and overall perspective for life outside of undergrad.

In addition to her major in Forensic Science, Pilar also double-minors in Chemistry and Data Science, Analytics, and Visualization. Set to graduate in 2024, she’s also on the Pre-Health track, which means she’s enrolled in Advanced Topics in Health Professions Preparation (HP390) with Dr. Amber Noguchi to help apply for medical school articulation programs.

She hopes to utilize her educational background to become a forensic pathologist in the NCIS or FBI, but would also be content serving the local community in the Honolulu Police Department.

To learn more about CSGA or the Senate, visit the website here. To call attention to an issue, email the Senate at [email protected].