Photo courtesy of Associated Students, Inc.
Associated Students, Inc. President Moses Menchaca told The Collegian in an exclusive interview that he plans to run for re-election as he overviewed last semester for ASI and outlined some of his goals for the new semester.
THE COLLEGIAN: “What was the most important agenda item that ASI accomplished last semester?”
MOSES MENCHACA: “What we had identified as our goal, myself as well as the executives, was collaboration. One thing we wanted to do was work with other organizations across campus, whether it was student clubs or actual full-time professional organizations like the Alumni Association.
“We have been able to work with other entities, like the Alumni Association, the veterans student association as well as veteran affairs. We worked heavily with athletics during our pep rally. We worked with different campuses in the Central Valley across all CSUs [CSU Stanislaus and CSU Bakersfield], as well as with our neighbors USU Productions and USU Board.
“What initiatives were taken to promote student involvement on campus?”
“We had the first-ever pep rally in the last few years so we used that as a way to create the hype and play off the throw-back theme and the victory of the football team. We also hosted multiple tailgates throughout the year for the football games. There has not been a single football game that Fresno State had where we didn’t host a tailgate and they won. Some correlation there? Possibly.
“The senators did a great job being able to reach some of their own constituents, and we hope to continue those. One new thing in the budget last semester was senator outreach. Each senator has about $500 for some kind of program. It’s been interesting to see how different senators have used it, and we’re interested to see how different senators use it in the future.
“We’ve also been able to do a lot of outreach via social media, Twitter and our KFSR radio station slot. Bulldog Blog has increased and increased its staff as well. This is the first year we have a program and volunteer coordinator who had three of their own student volunteers.”
“As president, how is this semester different from last semester, which was your first semester in office?”
“There’s a lot of sweet and sour with it. Part of it is that you’re starting the semester now with new knowledge of ASI, how it works and how things looks. So that’s definitely nice. One of the harder things this spring semester is there’s only a couple months before elections happen. Once elections happen, a lot of time and effort goes into transition. At that time, a lot of senators, as well as executives, become a sort of sitting duck where their job is just about done.
“One of the hardest things that’s going to fall on the executive teams is keeping up the morale and spirit, keeping students involved and utilizing the senators and encouraging them to reach out to their constituents.”
“Right now we currently had our executive vice president [Candice Amico], who oversees the senate and chairs the meetings, the previous one just resigned. We’re going through the process of bringing someone else on board. Once that’s selected [today], then it will kind of shape the outlook and what we have moving forward and what our goal is.
“We have our Fresno State 101, which is going to be my primary focus. That starts next week.”
“Do you have any goals this upcoming semester as ASI President in the short time before elections?”
“My sights are kind of set on two groups: the veterans and the Greek community. We’ve been able to make the connections with the veterans this last semester, so hopefully now it’s moving forward and looking at ways to create longevity in that relationship, as well as address some of the concerns that they may have. With the Greeks, I feel like the connection could be even stronger, and we can work together for the same efforts and for the same goals. Those two different entities play into community revitalization efforts, as well as just overall involvement.”
“In your opinion, what do you think were some of the strong points from last semester?”
“I really think it was a group effort. ASI came together, and what we all did as an organization was focus on specific areas and jobs, such as the pep rally. Every entity around ASI has really done a great job in their specific group. Through revitalization we’ve been able to raise funds through Helping Hams that surpassed any amount that we’ve ever deemed possible. Same with the canned food drive we had: Our goal was 300 pounds, and we raised almost 2,000. So we’ve been able to help out in community revitalization and have made strides there.
“But really I think that the biggest thing is that ASI was able to come together, create a positive image and play a role at the table with all the new selection of the vice presidents, shared governance and make sure that students have the voice. I heard somebody say today that if you’re not at the table, you’re usually what they’re eating at the table.
“So it’s a great opportunity through ASI for students to really be the voice. The university is going through so much change right now. ASI and the representatives through them can help tailor that to the wants and needs and desires of the students.
“What do you think are some improvements ASI can make this semester?”
“I think it’s really going to stem from the individual senators and targeting their specific colleges.
“I really think it’s going to depend on who the new executive vice president is to give that vision and goal and motivate the students.
“I think those are some of the areas that we can improve on, and I guarantee that we will be able to.”