While students prepare for midterms, they can also impact the campus politically with Associated Students’ elections coming next week. A new president, board of directors, and board of trustees will be named for the next academic year.
Ana Aldazabal, the current ASI President, shared her view of what the role of president requires.
“What the ASI President is there to do is really to talk to students, know what they need and voice that to university administration, to legislators and work with an executive team to help create initiatives that will help alleviate those roadblocks.” Aldazabal said.
Since the president has many responsibilities, the vice president shares the workload with the president, according to current ASI Vice President Saba Ansari.
“The vice president is in charge of overlooking programming and bridging the gap between the programming side and the governance side, making sure that all the programming has a purpose behind it,” Ansari said.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, Aaron Aguilar and Mansi Kalra are running for President and Vice President of ASI.
Aguilar is a third-year psychology major and serves as a student trustee on the Titan Student Center’s board of trustees. Kalra is a sophomore international business major and serves as vice chair for the spring concert and a member of ASI’s Lobby Corps.
Both said they felt driven to run after recognizing multiple issues on campus including: affordable student housing, student food security, lack of communication between ASI and campus organizations and little student awareness for what ASI really is.
“There’s so many highly motivated people that I’ve talked to and interacted with on a daily basis and they all have these amazing ideas, but my decision personally was that there’s all these things the school could be, so it’s the question of why shouldn’t it be all this?” Aguilar said.
One of their primary goals for next year is to reduce food insecurity and homelessness for students, with hopes to establish a permanent TSU food pantry and expand options for students who can’t afford an apartment.
“We do have emergency housing right now, but we both feel like there is still a need for it. It’s about showing that need to the rest of the university and the students so that we can all get behind it together,” Aguilar said.
The pair said they want to focus on growing the Titan Ambassadors program, which both candidates have worked for in the past, and hopes to increase student interest in ASI.
“It gives you a chance to shadow a current ASI leader, and you get to see the other positions and what their day to day looks like,” Kalra said. “I feel like (if) I didn’t have someone on the inside to tell me all this stuff, it was just so much learning on the spot. That’s not fair to people who are just coming into this, as most regular students are.”
The pair plan to enact change by promoting the interests of the student community, according to Aguilar.
One way they hope to gain feedback from students is by changing their office hours. Aguilar and Kalra said they want to go out onto campus to meet and interview students in an environment more suitable to their schedules.
“I think a lot of times things are done on ASI leaders’ terms. We know office hours are in their office. Things are done in the TSU. Things are really done on their agendas. They really need to work around the students’ agendas,” Kalra said.
They also said they hope to partner with various campus organizations, including Greek life, resource centers, clubs, housing and athletics in a variety of projects over the next year.
The candidates are working to establish several events in the fall, including a larger homecoming party and a potential ASI Pride Festival.
“We would want to do it on students’ terms so actually going out to these communities and asking ‘What would you like to see if we did a Pride Festival? What would make you feel like this was the best thing possible?’” Aguilar said.
Voting for this election opens on March 19 at 8 a.m. and closes on March 20 at 8 p.m. Students can cast their vote online through the CSUF portal.