James Ahumada connected with the Associated Students in 2007 as a member of the Beach Team, a group of first-year students who are given a chance to navigate their new environment and learn how student governance works at The Beach. He later served as a senator-at-large, chief of staff and, finally, ASI president for 2010-2011.
Although Ahumada is a member of the Long Beach community, his parents, Joe and Gloria Ahumada, and brother Joseph reside in Hacienda Heights. Ahumada arrived at Long Beach State determined to serve others and become fully involved on his campus. He served as president of Phi Kappa Tau, as well as philanthropy chair, raising more than $2,500 for charity. He loved being of service to his community and served as director of philanthropy and community service for the Interfraternity Council. Giving back is his main priority as a leader.
Coming into office as AS president, Ahumada was determined to make good on the promises he made during his campaign. His focus was to advocate for the student body and instill Beach Pride into as many students as possible. He and his executive team got to work immediately. First on their agenda was crafting a political response to the different issues impacting students by creating a lobbying outlet that visited local and statewide politicians. They successfully visited more than 25 offices to speak on ways to stop tuition increases and other issues affecting students. They also were very active in conversations at the statewide student governing organization, the California State Student Association. He was instrumental in advocating for a community management system that would allow student organizations to interact online with all of their members and create a higher level of engagement. His hard work paid off and the AS Senate approved the purchase of the online community management system, OrgSync, which was implemented in fall 2011.
During his tenure as AS president, Ahumada sustained the legacy of former AS President Erin Swetland by ensuring communication between AS and students continued with Beachfront, a monthly electronic newsletter that is emailed to the entire student body. Beachfront communicates important information about ASI events, opportunities, scholarships and projects in the works. In the words of Ahumada, “A good leader is one who learns how to analyze a situation using multiple lenses.” Ahumada valued the voice of students. He took the time to solicit feedback from students by visiting student organizations or simply walking the campus and talking to random students.
“The most important lesson I learned as president was that service to others is the number one objective of a strong leader,” Ahumada said. “I have this imprinted in my heart and mind, and intend to lead a life dedicated to public service.”
Not surprisingly, Ahumada was selected as an intern with the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Intern Program, which was formed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and his wife, Sylvia. During summer 2011, Ahumada trained at the institute's Monterey office, then headed to Washington, D.C., for an 11-week internship in the office of California Congressman Henry A. Waxman.
With Ahumada’s future goals to work in public service and possibly join the Peace Corps, don’t be surprised to one day see his name on a ballot!