Andrew “Drew” Love is currently more than 2,000 miles away from the Hilltop, but he will become a new voice within the ASUSF Senate. Love, a freshman biology major and Spanish studies minor from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was recently elected as this year’s freshman class representative. Although he has yet to visit San Francisco, he is primed to meet the challenges of being a senator and make an impact across campus.
After holding various student council positions throughout high school, Love decided to further his participation in student government in college as well. Although only 25% of freshmen voted, Love was the run-away winner, earning 44% of the vote in a race between five people. He described the campaign process as unique, given the circumstances of this semester. He used social media to interact with other freshmen, in many cases for the very first time.
Love built his campaign around the struggles his fellow freshmen are going through, such as trying to navigate becoming a college student during an unprecedented time. Although the University provided support for first-years during orientation, Love said, “A lot of people I know are struggling to understand the expectations in class and with professors, that’s something I really want to advocate for and connect them to the right resources.”
During Love’s campaign, many students reached out saying they supported his position, but could not vote for him because they could no longer afford to attend USF as a result of the pandemic. “That struck a chord on me and as I’ve learned once I got here, there are many resources to get help,” he said. Although USF support is present, Love said he believes the University should be doing more to reach its freshmen students, and added, “I just don’t think they are well-communicated to a lot of first-years.”
Since being elected, Love has started attending ASUSF Senate meetings and getting to know other senators. Senate Vice President of Internal Affairs Diammyra Cruz said, “Drew brings a lot of enthusiasm when talking to the rest of the Senate. He’s really passionate about the things we are trying to accomplish, including voting this year. He definitely seems to listen and represent his class.”
Love’s vigorous approach to the job stems from his determination to work for those with identities rooted in marginalized communities. “I identify as a Black and queer person, so a lot of my involvement in organizations and activities is centered on those populations,” said Love. “Part of my motivation for getting involved is that we still attend a predominantly white university, and I want to make sure we are able to uplift the unheard voices.”
Outside of his position as a class representative, Love is an active student in other aspects of the USF community. Love is already a member of the Black Student Union, the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students, and the Black Rainbow Party, a new club whose mission is to foster a community for Black LGBTQ+ students at USF. Love said he has ambitions to take on leadership roles in these organizations as well.
The Black Student Union has played a vital role in shaping Love’s interests on campus. He is part of the BSU’s Kijiji Project, a mentorship program for Black students in which first-years are paired with upperclassmen. Love was paired with the BSU president, Brianna Johnson.
Love said Johnson has mentored him well and is a major influence on his knowledge of everything USF, “from stories about the Black experience to the recent events on campus.” As a result, he is well-aware of the struggles USF students face, despite only being a USF student for a little more than a month, and is fully supportive of the issues student coalitions are trying to address.
“Drew has a certain care for the community,” Johnson said. “Whether it is the Black community, the queer community, communities that intersect, he is a non-stop advocate for social change, and this is something you notice even before meeting him.”
Johnson views Love’s active membership in BSU as a way to better connect Senate to USF’s Black community and said, “We [BSU] want his input on anything that Senate is gonna do, but then also, realistically, we don’t have much connection to Senate, in terms of knowing what’s going on.”
Senate responded to this claim in a statement, saying that in addition to openly inviting BSU’s executive board to join meetings and committees, Vice President of Advocacy Brooke Perry has been in contact with the organization, but “will, of course, develop our relationship further.”
For the freshmen class of 2024, this is a first semester unlike any other. These circumstances have forced unconventional measures, which have transformed the college experience. But, this has not stopped Love’s excitement, drive, and passion for representing a scattered class of students.