ASI: New EVP selected, department grants to come

Associated Students, Inc. selected Justin Whisten, former senator-at-large for athletics and recreation, as the new executive vice president on Wednesday.

The former executive vice president, Candice Amico, resigned to focus on academics during her last semester at Fresno State. Amico joined ASI as the chief of staff in the fall of 2012 and was elected executive vice president last semester.

Whisten joined ASI in 2011 and worked on the activities committee. He ran for senator last spring, and as the senator for athletics and recreation, Whisten said he promoted school spirit at basketball games, helped organize the pep rally and the student T-shirt exchange program.

As the executive vice president, Whisten is the chair of the ASI senate. He will be at the senators’ aid and help with organizing elections and transition for new senators. Whisten will also help ASI President Moses Menchaca organize Fresno State 101.

“I’ll be there to help them get their feet wet so they know how things work,” Whisten said.

He said the senate will try to fill his previous position at the next meeting on Feb. 5.

Meanwhile, “There’s always something to be working on,” Whisten said.

Pete Mehas Funding Grants

ASI senators currently are gathering input from their colleges regarding department needs in terms of equipment that will be eligible for funding from the Pete Mehas Funding Grants.

Rebecca Rosengarten, vice president of finance, said grants will honor the late Pete Mehas, who was on the California State University Board of Trustees.

Last semester, Mikey Sanchez, senator of arts and humanities, requested money from ASI to fund DSLR cameras for students in the mass communication and journalism department to complete assignments.

Through the Mehas grants, other departments in different colleges would have the opportunity to also buy needed academic-related equipment.

During the Feb. 5 meeting, the senate will vote on an action item that will decide an amount for the grants. Each department that applies will be eligible for up to $5,000.

Rosengarten said she predicts the senate will agree on $75,000. If each department applies for the maximum $5,000, up to 15 departments will receive grants.

The money for the grants will not come out of ASI’s operational budget, Rosengarten said, but rather out of reserve pools. ASI has about $1 million in reserves from student fees that were not spent in previous semesters and collected over time, she said.

“This is money that ASI has been saving, and it will be a way to give back to students,” Rosengarten said.

After the Feb. 5 meeting, applications for the grants will be available online Feb. 6 and are due March 7. Rosengarten said if things go as scheduled, departments will receive award letters and grants by the first week of April.

Gearing up for elections

Petitions to run for ASI are now available in the student involvement center, University Student Union Room 306. The deadline for petitions is Feb. 14.

Those who wish to run for a college position must collect signatures from their respective college.

There will be an all-candidates meeting Feb. 19 for an ASI orientation. Candidates should read and have a copy of the election code by this date. University photographer Cary Edmondson will take photos for the ballot. If candidates do not attend this meeting, their names will be dropped from the ballot.

After the all-candidates’ meeting, candidates may begin campaigning, as long as campaigns align with the election code.

Elections will be held March 25-27. Emails will be sent to eligible voting students with passwords, usernames and a link to the ballot.

For the first time this year, the Alumni Association will award a $2,000 scholarship to the newly elected president.