Higher turnout expected in ASI election

Last year 494 students voted in the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) elections. This year ASI expects 2,000.

ASI is expecting a larger turnout because of two referendums that will be appearing on the ballot. One of them is an Instructionally Related Activity (IRA) referendum, which would increase the $10 fee that students pay each semester. This fee increase, if approved, would provide more funding for students involved in activities and projects sponsored by academic programs.

The second referendum would increase the athletics fee from $7 to $37.

Correction, 3/5/2007: There is only one referendum on the ballet. The proposed IRA referendum is to increase the current $10 fee per semester to $80 per semester (a $20 per semester increase will go to Instructionally Related Activities project funding and $50 per semester will be dedicated to the campus intercollegiate athletics program). This would raise the current IRA fee by $70 per semester.

Many of the votes are expected to come from students involved in sports who want to see these referendums passed.

“If the referendums are on the ballot, then there will be a lot more voters,” senate secretary Sandra Flores said.

The general election will be taking place April 8-10. Students will be able to vote on various places on campus, including the Joyal Administration Building and the University Student Union.

All positions are open for students to apply. The deadline to turn in an application is March 7 at 5 p.m. On March 11, the candidates for each position will be revealed.

Flores said that ASI is making more of an effort to promote the election and persuade students to get involved, including distributing posters, flyers and other types of advertisements.

“They’re definitely going to use the money in the advertising budget wisely,” Flores said.

ASI is also hoping to advertise the two vacant positions left for this spring.

There is one vacancy left in both the senate and student court positions of ASI. Originally there were a few more openings in each position, but they have been already filled. These vacancies were caused by unforeseen events, such as a student’s resignation.

The student chosen as a senator will only stay in office until the end of the semester. The student chosen for the student court position, however, can stay on until they graduate or resign.

This is a separate affair from the general election. Unlike the general election, where the student body chooses who is elected, the winner for each position will be chosen by ASI itself. Once a student becomes elected, they can begin working.

“It’s a great learning experience and a very challenging opportunity,” ASI vice president Stephen Trembley said. “You get to represent the concerns of other students on campus and impact their lives for the better.”

The requirements for a senator are to attend senate and community meetings, as well as be on the finance committee. For a student who applies for the senate vacancy, Thursday and Friday mornings need to be available for senate duties. Another main aspect of being a senator is to set up and organize clubs and events on campus.

The main responsibilities for someone in the student court position are to go through the school code and search for any violations that may have occurred on campus. It is then their job to create new rules in the code regarding those violations. This position is a lower-level commitment than that of a senator.

Overall, students applying for both positions need to have the same kind of personal qualities in order to be successful in that position.

“They need to be passionate about being involved on campus,” Trembley said. “The students need to have good communication skills and should be an advocate for the clubs and organizations on campus.”

The easiest way to apply for a position is to do so online by downloading an application and hand it to ASI after completing all of the necessary paperwork. After reviewing the application, they will let the applicant know whether or not they have been chosen.

Almost any student can get involved and be eligible for a position as long as they are interested and really want to make improvements, according to Trembley. He also believes that the next few months will be a significant and interesting time for Fresno State, especially because of the upcoming general election.

“It’s an exciting time to be a Bulldog,” Trembley said.

Flores hopes that a lot of students come out to vote and encourages them to do so.

“It really gives students a chance to be heard,” Flores said. “It puts us students in control of our future and it only takes five minutes.”

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