Jun 24, 2019
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Participation leads to advocacy, ASI gets students involved

Fresno State’s Associated Students, Inc. is searching for ways to get students involved after several projects have failed.

Last year, the ASI executive team decided to discontinue “Thirsty Thursdays.” The event was an opportunity for students to meet their ASI representatives in an informal setting and connect with them.

ASI noticed not many students were attending, and those who did come did not interact with ASI representatives.

“It didn’t really fit the mission that we had of trying to connect with students,” ASI President Tim Ryan said.

When Campus Pointe opened, ASI thought of a new event – a movie at Maya Cinemas. But since the movie was on a school night and there was trouble getting the word out, that event was also discontinued due to low attendance.

“We wanted to re-evaluate what programs we could offer for students,” Ryan said. “Services we could have that would both be something fun and something students would be interested in, but also a way to connect with ASI.”

This semester, ASI continued its annual leadership training program, “Fresno State 101,” but with a twist.

The once-a-week-for-three-weeks program was condensed to two days, on Feb 4. and Feb 6. Although the duration was shortened, the program’s mission stayed the same: Get students aware of campus issues and even inspire them to run for student government.

“The goal was to increase the amount of students that were able to be involved in that and to also give them more time to potentially get a petition [for office], fill it out and get that turned in,” Ryan said.

The first day was devoted to meeting campus officials and learning how to make an impact at Fresno State.

“They all really valued the opportunity to hear from some leaders on campus,” Ryan said.

The second day was when students and ASI’s knowledge was put into practice. For the first time, the group members drove to Sacramento where they lobbied government officials and their staffs regarding a potential tuition increase. The group also toured the Capitol.

“[We went] to advocate against the potential tuition increase by asking our local legislators to support Fresno State students and the CSU by voting in favor of more funding for the CSU,” Ryan said.

He said the potential tuition increase played a role in shifting the focus of the program this year.

“That more-narrow focus may have influenced our decision to do a one-day Saturday training and then actually going up to Sacramento,” Ryan said.

The two-day program also allowed more students to stay for the complete program. Ryan said that attendance would drop when the program spanned three weeks.

Although the students were nervous about going to Sacramento, they found that working together made a difference, said Ryan. He added that the trip made them closer.

The program left students with knowledge on how to become a leader, and let ASI connect with a new group of students.

“Overall, that was a really great experience. Something we’re going to try to expand on is providing more opportunities like that for students to get involved in advocacy and leadership training,” Ryan said.

Ryan invites all students who are curious about getting involved to attend ASI meetings. He said the meetings are opportunities to hear about ways to be involved and to be better informed on campus issues.

“It’s a really great opportunity to see what we do, [and] what we work on,” Ryan said.

He also recommends students who are interested in helping make campus decisions or expressing their ideas to join an ASI internal committee or campuswide committee. Students who would like more information are encouraged to visit the ASI office in University Student Union, Room 316 & 317.

“That is a really great way for students to get a feel for whether or not they want to be involved in the shared governance process on campus,” Ryan said. “If they don’t want to run for a position, it’s definitely less responsibility and less of a time commitment but still a great way to put yourself in a leadership position and represent fellow students.”

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