California State University student trustee emeritus and Cal State Northridge alumnus Jorge Reyes Salinas overcame unique challenges on his journey to obtaining a degree. As a DACA recipient and first-generation college student, Reyes Salinas faced uncertainty, but he found confidence and empowerment as a student leader within the CSU.  

During his time as a student at CSUN, Reyes Salinas held several leadership roles including serving as the campus’ Associated Students president and as vice president of university affairs for the statewide California State Student Association. 

“I soon realized the power a student’s voice has on campus,” says Reyes Salinas. “I’m privileged to have been in these leadership roles where I could advocate and speak for students, especially undocumented ones and students of color.”

Reyes Salinas became an advocate for DACA students during his time at CSUN, spearheading a collaborative effort to establish the campus’

The CSU has opened doors, not only for myself, but for the people around me. 

Dream Center, which offers programs and services to support undocumented student success. Being a DACA recipient himself, the Dream Center was a cause close to Reyes Salinas’ heart.

“Although a DREAM project already existed on campus, I wanted to create a stronger sense of belonging for other DACA students on campus,” says Reyes Salinas. “The new center provides internship opportunities and more support for students and their families. They’re really moving the needle on helping undocumented students.”

While serving as a student trustee, Reyes Salinas traveled to CSU campuses from Humboldt to San Diego, getting to know his constituents and trying to meet their needs. Reyes Salinas says the experience was eye-opening, and made him realize just how diverse the CSU’s student body is.

“That’s the beauty of the CSU, that every student is not cookie cutter,” says Reyes Salinas. “They come from different backgrounds, but they all have the same goal of graduating and helping their families and contributing to society.”

Reyes Salinas also gained a greater understanding about the legislative process regarding public higher education and built confidence in his leadership abilities – abilities he will continue to hone as a Jesse Marvin Unruh Fellow this fall.  

Reyes Salinas also earned a master’s degree at CSUN. Shortly after graduation he was selected to participate in the fellowship program, which provides the opportunity to learn more about and directly participate in the legislative process in the state Capitol.

“I’d also like to continue my education and continue being involved in education policy. My most rewarding job would be making sure that every child and student in the country has an equitable chance to get an education,” says Reyes Salinas. “I’d also like to eventually bring it full circle and come back to teach at a CSU so I can share what I’ve learned with the next generation of students like my teachers have done with me.”