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Associated Students, Inc. President Blake Zante at the first senate meeting of the fall 2017 semester on Aug. 23, 2017. (Daniel Avalos/The Collegian)

ASI President Zante’s next step: Finding the student voice

Associated Students, Inc. President Blake Zante wants to hear from students.

Heading into his third year in ASI, Zante hopes his listening skills can help set the agenda for this new school year.

“Instead of telling them [students] to ‘come to ASI with your concerns,’” Zante said. “ASI is now going to students and saying, ‘what are your needs?’”

Zante plans on asking for more feedback from students during his time in office. He said he wants the voices of everyone to be included.

“Our goal is to talk to as many students as possible,” Zante said. “We have a senator that’s working on marginalized and unofficial groups and how to talk to them.”

Zante is aiming to conduct networking opportunities known as “listening tours.” ASI members will head to different student groups on campus to listen to what the students have to say.

“It’s a time for them to share their concerns or share their frustrations and share the things they enjoy about Fresno State,” Zante said.

He said he plans to move forward with these conversations and use them to implement “better” change for the student body.

“It’s about showing students that your voice matters, your vote matters, you’re an equal part of the process no matter where you are in the world,” Zante said. “Especially on Fresno State’s campus.”

Zante said he also plans on building better relations with the surrounding campus community. His push on safety is already paying off with the opening of a satellite police station in the El Dorado Park neighborhood.  

He plans to work closely with the University Student Union Board in creating a new marketing plan for the new USU referendum. He said he plans on getting more student feedback on the proposed project.

Ahson Haider, Zante’s chief of staff, will serve as Zante’s “right-hand man.”

Much like Zante, Haider has a passion for speaking with others. He said he hopes that he can use that skill when assisting Zante with this year’s projects.

“I love talking to people,” Haider said. “I would love the opportunity to talk to as many people as possible, learn as much as I can and gain real leadership skills.”

Haider is a transfer student, and when he first arrived to campus he said he didn’t feel like it was the right fit for him. After getting involved with different organizations on campus, he realized that Fresno State was actually the best choice for him.

“I came to love Fresno State. I did not want to come here but now that I’m here, I absolutely love it,” Haider said. “I want everyone else to have that same amount of joy and excitement when they come on campus.”

Zante said he admires how connected students become when when they’re part of bigger things at Fresno State. When talking to students he said he sees how much of an impact they are giving back to themselves and those around them.

“All kinds of students here are either starting a new legacy as a first-generation college student,” Zante said, “or they’re following [a legacy] that their parents or family were Bulldogs.”

Zante said he is also planning a community interfaith event in the spring with different local religious leaders as an opportunity to showcase diverse beliefs among students.

By reaching out to many students, Zante said, he hopes differences can be used to unify the students throughout their academic journey. He hopes the diversity of the campus can showcase how each person plays a part.

“We have students from so many different cultural groups, so many backgrounds. We have students who have different ideas, ways of thought,” Zante said. “When we bring that together, it’s like a beautiful mosaic.”