Finally, a local college student represents Bakersfield on the CSU Board of Trustees

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The California State University’s Board of Trustees oversees the nation’s largest system of baccalaureate-level higher education — 23 campuses including CSU Bakersfield. But in the board’s 60 years of governance it has never had a student trustee from Kern County.

Now it does.

Meet Krystal Raynes, a 21-year old CSUB senior and Independence High grad whose parents immigrated from the Philippines. Raynes nailed her application to join the California State University’s board of trustees with this message:

“We’re shaped by our resilience,” she told KGET. “There’s so many immigrant people that live here, my family being one of the stories, being one of the many stories, that have come here to Bakersfield. Having that strength of community, to say that we matter, when pesticides are literally killing those people, takes a lot of strength. And it has been perpetuated to this very day in the students and the youth. A lot of us want to have a better life.”

Now she will be an advocate for students in Kern County and everywhere, she says, who may have dealt with financial hardship, food insecurity, housing concerns and a host of other issues that can get in the way of academic success.

Thanks to her lasting connection to her parents’ native Philippines, Krystal has known first-world poverty and third world poverty.

“Comparing my experiences as a kid going to the Philippines — I remember that we didn’t even have a front door! We didn’t have a front door and cats would come in and out,” she said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced her appointment as one of two student trustees on Thursday.

Now she will have a vote on matters reshaping the face of higher education, including distance learning, a serious budget shortfall and new requirements that the CSU expand the breadth of its curriculum to include scholarship on ethnic studies.

Raynes, a computer science and business major, has held several student leadership positions from 2018 to 2020, including interim vice president of legislative affairs.

CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny said Raynes deserves this unprecedented opportunity.

“I’ve watched her in her leadership roles in the associated student body,” Zelezny said. “She has held very prominent roles. She has also had prominent student leadership roles at the state level — and she was the only student trustee candidate that had that full range of experience. So I think it’s really appealed to the governor’s choice that she has really earned not only being nominated but being selected to the position.”

In the 50-year history of the university, Raynes is only the second trustee from CSU Bakersfield to serve on the board, following John Nilon, who served as an alumni representative a few years ago.

Raynes has an impressive resume for one so young, but her greatest asset may be optimism and an infectious attitude.

“I laugh a lot,” she said. “I love people. I love being around people. You never know when it’s going to be your last day. So I live with that philosophy and I try to spread joy, try to tell people I love them.”

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