The Associated Students Inc. convened last Wednesday evening for the first meeting of the spring 2018 semester.
Announcement of resignations
The meeting began with the surprise resignation announcements from two senators – Senator of Veteran and Transfer Affairs Cody Sedano and Senator of Resident Affairs Joseph Blair.
Sedano, who had taken on one of the newly added positions last semester, said his resignation will be effective Jan. 24 at 4 p.m.
“Besides being a father and U.S. Marine, serving the students of California has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” Sedano said. “I resign knowing that this position that I fought for, now an active voice for veterans, will be in good hands.”
Sedano said he is resigning to focus on his health, his future career and to spend more time with his 3-year-old daughter.
Although Blair did not attend the meeting, Executive Vice President Brandon Sepulveda confirmed Blair had submitted a letter of resignation.
With only one class this semester, Blair did not meet the minimum-unit requirement to serve on the senate, Sepulveda said.
The two vacant positions will be opened up for applicants as soon as possible.
“We are losing two people, but we are giving two other students a chance to serve and get involved in ASI,” Sepulveda said.
Drug Awareness Walk
ASI President Blake Zante discussed Drug Awareness Walk, which took place in the Free Speech Area on Saturday morning.
In light of the recent death of Fresno State sophomore Omar Nemeth, who died from an apparent overdose, Zante said the event aims to raise awareness about drug addiction.
Student Access to The New York Times
Sepulveda announced that a news subscription contract with The New York Times will replace a previous contract with local the Fresno Bee which ended last September.
The digital-only deal allows students to access The New York Times for free using their school email address.
A campus wide email is expected to be sent out to all faculty and students with detailed instructions on how to subscribe.
New Club Grant now open for applications
ASI Vice President of Finance Cam Patterson announced that the New Club Grant is now accepting applications.
The grant is available to any club on campus that has been operating for less than four semesters and is looking for a way to jumpstart its activities.
Patterson expressed a desire to reach out to more clubs and students on campus to promote the resources and financial opportunities available to them.
‘Endless possibilities’ for student fee reserve funds
Accumulated student fees amounting to a reserve fund of approximately $700,000 spawned a discussion about their allocation during the meeting.
Zante proposed a possible donation of $5,000 to the Student Cupboard on campus using the reserve funds.
“This is just the first part of pushing that money back out to students,” Zante said. “There are a lot of other great programs on campus, but I think it would be great if we could start with something like the Student Cupboard.”
There was no action on the proposal for use of funds during the meeting. However, Zante said the proposal will be drafted so that senators can outline expectations, such as food quality and fund usage concerns, before an official vote.
Other proposed projects for the allocation of reserve funds included adding benches to the Peace Garden to make the garden more inviting for students, as well as creating an ASI Impact Grant.
The ASI Impact Grant would be worth up to $100,000. Departments within the eight academic colleges and student affairs would be eligible to apply.
A draft of the grant application named five areas where grant recipients can request funds. Those include technology, sustainability, clubs, general and campus climate.
Patterson said the grant is meant for anyone hoping to make an impact on campus in a way that an ASI Sponsored Activity Grant or IRA may be limited on.
“I really think this expands the capacity that students have to make a difference on campus,” Patterson said.
Although funds have not yet been pulled from the reserves, Zante emphasized the importance of using the funds to benefit students.
“We need to look at what are the needs on campus and what can this money be going towards,” Zante said. “It should benefit student services or students on campus. Other than that limitation, the possibilities are endless.”