The ins and outs of ASI
Fresno State students vote for their Associated Students Inc. (ASI) representatives beginning Tuesday.
Among the positions candidates will be running for are the executive vice president, vice president of external affairs and vice president of finance. The election also includes the eight college senator positions and the seven senator at-large posts.
Parmita Choudhury, a Smittcamp students majoring in business, is the executive vice president of ASI. In the three years she has worked for ASI, Choudhury has been a senator twice.
Choudhury said her role as the executive vice president is overseeing ASI’s internal functions.
She also manages the ASI standing committees, which include the academic, personnel, legal, legislative, activities, and finance committees.
“What I do is, I manage the senate. That’s the 15 board of directors – the senators,” she said. “I meet with them monthly. I also chair all senate meetings.”
Choudhury appoints three senators to each of those committees. She trains these senators how to run meetings. She also makes sure that the senate’s agenda and information is up to date, as well as making sure the senators are following proper meeting policy.
Choudhury currently is running for senator at-large before seeking reelection as executive vice president.
Neil O’Brien, a recreation major, is the senator of parking and safety. He oversees procedures regarding students parking passes and tickets.
“It is my duty to show students and check whether those that say they bought a parking pass, actually have a parking pass,” he said. “Whether they parked illegally, whether they parked intentionally at a spot where they have a good chance of getting a ticket.”
O’Brien also advocates for campus safety and alerts students of ways to protect themselves on campus.
“The campus is the 19th worst crime rated school in the nation,” he said. “So I try to address the parking and safety issues on campus.”
Similar to Choudhury, O’Brien is also running for senator at-large. As senators, O’Brien said that their main role in ASI is advocating for student rights.
“There are a lot of campuswide committees where representatives get to attend and hear about the different things that are happening in school, as well as various plans to get some idea on how we’re making some changes for the future of the campus, he said. “A lot of these decisions that take place at those committees affect students.”
Incumbent vice president of external affairs Sean Kiernan, is running for re-election. Majoring in political science, Kiernan was the first person who took on this position.
“I shaped what it does and its purpose,” Kiernan said.
Kiernan is trying to get students more involved in the political process and he also represents Fresno State student’s to California State University (CSU) governing board meetings.
Kiernan deals with anything outside of campus, and ASI that could affect students. Specifically, the board of trustees, the State legislature, the governor’s office and the California State Student Association.
That association represents the student government of the entire CSU system.
For example, as the vice president of external affairs, Kiernan worked with the Fresno County Clerk to get a polling place on campus in November 2012.
“Having a person who is designated to represent Fresno to the California State Student Association, which is advocating for students state-wide and developing unity in state wide issues is very important,” Kiernan said.
Rebecca Rosengarten, who is majoring in accounting, is the vice president of finance and is also running for a re-election. Leading the finance committee, Rosengarten plans and creates the budget for ASI every semester. These must then be approved by the senate.
“When anyone wants to use funding from ASI, whether it’s the senators, the excutives, students, they come through me,” she said.
She is also in charge of providing necessary funds to school organizations and clubs when they need money to carry out certain activities or performances around campus.
In the finance committee, Rosengarten and her team look through all funding applications.
“We [the committee] communicate with each other. We’re not afraid to say things that need to be said in this committee,” she said.
It is important for them to make sure all funds are properly used as they are constantly dealing with a lot of money, Rosengarten said.
Currently, she is working on increasing funds for clubs and organizations.
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