The Titan Student Union Grand Staircase was filled with curious students for the Associated Students Inc.’s town hall meeting featuring a panel of ASI leaders on Thursday. Participants voiced improvements that ASI could make, such as posting meeting agendas on social media and the challenge of running for office at Cal State Fullerton.
The town hall meeting, the second one hosted this academic year, allowed students to ask ASI any questions regarding upcoming events, including Spring Concert, Battle of the DJs or general accountability.
“I do think the questions this time around were a lot deeper and really addressed the issues that usually aren’t comfortable to talk about,” said chief communications officer Kaetlyn Hernandez regarding the insight provided compared to the first town hall meeting.
While a flawed set-up and weaker audience turnout defined the first town hall meeting, constant, active participation and input from a packed crowd defined the second, according to Hernandez.
One student’s ongoing struggle with getting permission to share research highlighted the need for better communication between the officers and the ASI Board of Directors.
Liz Sanchez, a graduate student at CSUF, brought up the attempts to share their ongoing research.
“Trying to provide this info here at Cal State Fullerton has been limiting. The chair of the board said I couldn’t do it since I didn’t have a PhD. So then, when your ASI reps try and help out, we went and found someone who had a PhD to collaborate with me, and the chair still said no,” said Sanchez.
Aldazabal explained that while there are areas they can improve and communicate, individual accountability within the company is essential. Aldazabal shared she communicates often with Board chair Tristan Torres; however she does not work directly with the Board.
“We’re constantly talking to (Torres) and thinking of ways in which we can improve (the) Board, but at the end of the day, it’s up to him whether he wants to implement these things,” Aldazabal said.
Another concern was the limitation of ASI involvement, as many of the panelists recommended running for ASI positions to ensure that their opinions were being heard.
In terms of running for student government, a student said the measure to lower the GPA requirement was not passed. The student said that since that attempt to make the ASI election process easier for students was denied, it is up to ASI to help students access these opportunities.
“So y’all also need to help us get into that door if y’all are also in that position,” the student said.
While Aldazabal agrees, she also said she believes there are other ways to stay involved as a student while not holding an active position. Petitioning, visiting ASI office hours and being present politically on campus are some of the few ways Aldazabal suggests to get involved.
“Please attend these town halls, attend the roundtables,” Aldazabal said. “The purpose was to listen to students, to hear concerns and we really wanted to make sure that…the students don’t have to come to us all the time.”
Aldazabal credits the roundtables and town hall meetings for providing insight into areas ASI may overlook.
“I was really surprised to hear about not having the agendas posted, and it’s very simple. All I have to do is post them, but I never thought about it,” Hernandez said.
With increasing input and many problems addressed, Hernandez said she hopes ASI will expand on the current town hall format to host them more often, in different locations and with rotating panelists.
“I know for me, if I were in Mihaylo, I don’t know if I would want to walk all the way across campus,” Hernandez said.
All ASI student leaders are available for contact outside of roundtables and town halls through email, visiting their office hours or asi.fullerton.edu.