Nolan Golden’s ASGC leadership year fulfills key prioritiesby on May 3, 2019
Nolan Golden, 2018-2019 ASGC President
Looking back to the Associated Student of Gavilan College (ASGC) election of last year, Nolan Golden reflected on the decisions that led to running for ASGC president, and the core values new leadership would emphasize.
After serving the previous year as ASCG VP of Clubs, discussions ensued with then president Adam Lopez about upcoming elections. It was agreed: Lopez would run for Student Trustee and Golden would run for ASGC President. Golden managed their own campaign for president, spoke to 20 different classes and multiple individual students. At the end of April 2018, Golden was elected ASCG president.
Complimenting Lopez’s leadership, Golden said, “I have really big shoes to fill. You wear a sneaker and I wear a heel. I can make my own mark on Gavilan.”
“Throughout this year of leadership as President of ASGC,” said Dr. Kathleen Rose, Superintendent/President of Gavilan College, “Nolan Golden personified a number of quality traits that brought strength to our student government and paved the way for future leaders at the college in the upcoming years.”
Golden, who moved from Washington to California as a teen, found early leadership opportunities, learned to be more outgoing toward others and chose to own and define their gay identity. A high school leadership teacher and advisor offered additional pathways.
Leadership trainings showed up throughout high school. Golden attended a conference in Texas, then a summer program at Camp Royal in Sequoia National Forest. There, teen leaders were not told what to do. Instead, charting their own way, they worked together to figure out how to build their own community.
“I discovered that this is what I love to do,” said Golden, of these early leadership roles. “Other people saw things in me and gave me opportunities at no cost.”
While still in high school, Golden built a peer mentorship program and helped organize Salinas Valley Pride. Creating safe spaces became a priority.
“Nolan is an extraordinarily talented young leader, said Blanca Arteaga, ASGC advisor, “Dedicated to making positive change whenever possible and always open to new ideas.”
ASGC leaders tabled an event on campus as Dr. Kathleen Rose chatted with Trustee Walt Glines.
Golden spoke with pride about ASGC’s organization and support of the district bond, Measure X. ASGC was a major donor supporting the passage of the $248M bond measure last fall, donating $65,000.77 in support, plus staffing phone banks and canvassing neighborhoods.
Last October, National Coming Out Day on the Gilroy campus was celebrated with flying the eight-color pride flag, raised for the very first time on campus.
“When I came to Gavilan, I wanted to access a more civically engaged campus that ensured the LGBTQ community had more visibility,” said Golden.
Nolan Golden, at podium, finished speaking and gave the signal to raise the pride flag.
Reflecting on the alliances previously built, Golden posed the question: shouldn’t Gavilan be building leadership training? What if we offered our own leadership program?
Golden elicited support from Dr. Rose as well as Kelly Glass, communication studies instructor, Debbie Klein, anthropology instructor, and Jillian Wilson, Librarian.
The recent event, held in late April, tapped local speakers, offered leadership training opportunities and a full day of workshops for high school students to learn leadership in high school and beyond.
Golden also spoke of support to work within the district’s shared governance to implement AB 196, which creates safe space for sexual orientation, equity, gender safe space, delineating use of preferred pronouns and names policy.
Arteaga asked him: Who is Nolan Golden? Why do people want to follow Nolan Golden? In response to her challenge, Golden selected leadership attributes - gracious, optimistic, loyal, determined, engaged, nurturing - to form an acronym of their surname.
As the academic year draws to a close, Golden describes the future as bright, with graduation in a few weeks. Transfer options include Pitzer, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UCLA. Motivating factors? “All have student government that is leadership oriented and defines the space I want to be in,” said Golden. “It feels very full circle for me this year, exciting.”