ASI candidates bolster student engagement at TSU

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Stenedt gathered outside of the Titan Student Union building meeting the current candidates for ASI's Board of Directors.
(Josh Halim / Daily Titan)

Candidates running for positions on the Associated Students Board of Directors for the 2019-20 academic year tabled outside the Titan Student Union on Tuesday to interact with students.

Both presidential campaigns made an appearance, along with several candidates from the Colleges of Arts, Business and Engineering and Computer Science, with other candidates filtering in and out during the event.

Mansi Kalra, a candidate for vice president, said she appreciated the opportunity to speak face-to-face with students since it is something she believes directly enforces accountability for candidates like herself.

“It’s up to students to hold each other accountable, and having forums like this where they can just come ask you honest, straightforward questions and expect a straightforward response is extremely important,” Kalra said.

As one of the first public events for candidates, many students were meeting the candidates for the first time.

“I’m happy that students are coming out here and actually meeting their representatives and the candidates because it’s one thing to read our platform on paper, but it’s another thing to actually meet the person,” said Lesley Aguirre, a candidate running from the College of the Arts.

Multiple candidates at the event brought up how many students walking past the tables didn’t realize that ASI elections were coming up.

So many of them aren’t aware about the elections, and just by walking by they say, ‘Oh, what’s this?’” said Isaac Gonzalez, a Board of Directors candidate from the College of Business and Economics. “I think Mihaylo hall is really disconnected from ASI. So many of the students don’t know about ASI, or they kind of know what’s going on with ASI but they don’t participate.”

Kalra said that she has also noticed the lack of student awareness of ASI, and acknowledges that it is up to both the candidates and the organization to address that.

“There were some students who hadn’t heard about the campaigns today, let alone ASI. So it definitely shows that there’s more improvements to be done in terms of building that bridge between students and their government,” Kalra said.

Candidates that were present shared the aspects of campus that they want to change if elected. Naman Shah, a candidate for the Board of Directors from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, wants to change how lab courses are counted in terms of credits.

While most classes count for three units, the lab that he is taking requires a 15 to 20 hour weekly commitment, but it only counts for one unit.

“My motto is let your work matter,” Shah said. “I want NSM students to be treated in a fair way so that we also get the platform to be able to, finish our classes on time and not be as stressed.”

While most of the campaigning focused on a candidate’s respective college, several candidates had ideas for the campus as a whole.

“We don’t know what goes on in (the TSU) a lot of the time, and I don’t think our university is serving us well if we have to go out and search for it,” Aguirre said.

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