Ashley Vasquez, a third year student at Rutgers University-Newark, is dedicated to creating change by raising awareness of social issues and encouraging others to take action. During the past two years, Ashley has effectively implemented initiatives aimed at addressing social inequities experienced by historically underrepresented and marginalized communities. As the co-founder and Vice President of "Students with a Greater Goal" (SWAGG), Ashley successfully engaged her peers in service learning by providing them with opportunities to volunteer in the local community. Through her involvement with RU Dreamers, a student organization aimed at empowering undocumented students at Rutgers-Newark, Ashley has served as a community ally and inspired her peers to take action by sharing her personal narrative of being a first-generation college student and child of immigrants. Furthering her passion for immigrant rights, Ashley has dedicated her time to working as an intern for Hispanics Inspiring Students' Performance and Achievement (HISPA) and supporting the organization's mission of providing youth in predominantly low-income schools with role models who will influence them in pursuing higher education. Ashley's commitment, strong leadership, and genuine passion for serving the community has positioned her to become an influential agent of social change.
As the daughter of immigrants, I am passionate about immigrant rights. I am blessed to have been born in a country that gives me the freedom to use my voice for those who believe they do not have one. I have always been surrounded by individuals who are undocumented and have seen their struggles first hand. Ever since I was a young girl, I have tried to help those in need in simple ways such as translating for them. As I got older, I realized how powerful my voice was. During one of my classes, I had the chance, along with three other students, to advocate for an organization called Action 21 that provides services for the immigrant community, and convince the class to donate $1,000.00 to them. This taught me how important it is to inform the public of social issues. Therefore, as one of the leaders of the new organizations in campus Students With a Greater Goal, I hope to raise awareness of current social issues and encourage students to take action to create an impact and positive change. Also, as the most diverse campus, it is important that students at Rutgers become aware of the issues that their classmates might be going through and provide support.