With Associated Students, Inc. elections approaching, two candidates have emerged to vie for the organization’s top role of president. Ralph Ruiz will face off against Abigail Hudson in the election. Voting begins March 24 and lasts through noon on March 26.
Currently president of Fresno State’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity (PIKE), Ruiz said he hopes to bring his experience to the office of ASI president.
A senior kinesiology major who will return for a fifth year next fall, he is running alone rather than on a ticket.
The Collegian sat down with Ruiz for its first candidate Q&A for this year’s elections.
Collegian: Why are you running?
Ruiz: I’m running, because I think ASI has been this, I don’t want to say diluted, but I watched the video on The Collegian actually where you guys went around and asked what ASI was. I think like two to three students in the entire video knew what it was.
I think that’s pathetic. I think ASI needs a face. It needs to voice the students’ opinions, because that’s what the organization is built off of, and I feel like I could do that best, because I can relate to all the students directly.
I’m invested in the students, and I think I can get the students invested in me, and I think that’s what separates me from any other past ASI president, because every ASI president is invested in the students, invested in the campus, but if you can get the students invested in you, then you’re going to get a difference. You’re going to get things to happen…
What would some of your major goals, other than outreach and some of the stuff that we’ve already mentioned — what would some of your major goals be?
I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to three. The main one was revitalization…
When I chose to come to Fresno State, I fell in love with the campus; I fell in love with the environment. I think students that come and tour here or students who look into here kind of get held back when they realize the community we’re in, and improving that community is all the better.
It makes it a better community for us, for incoming students and just the people in the community…
I know on the Greek mall they need lights, because campus safety is my second one. They need lights, because their cars are getting broken into. They’re walking at night, at later times of the day.
They need lights out there, so I want to put lights out there. I want to fix concrete for them, because there’s a lot of students in that area who are tripping, hurting themselves on broken concrete, and that’s an issue.
Revitalization, campus safety and what was your third one?
Student success — I think that’s a major one, because all of us are here to succeed. We didn’t come to Fresno State and pay our $3,000 in tuition to not.
So I think creating opportunities for students to succeed — I know I found my opportunities through organizations like the Greek community, like IFC, like ASI. Those leadership roles catapulted me into what I am today, and I’m imagining that they’re going to catapult me into my career, and I think whether it’s opening up more tutoring sessions, more SI sessions, pretty much just making the campus a resource for the students to ensure that they’re succeeding…
Would you be in favor of some of those student fee increases (aimed at upping the budgets of campus services like tutoring) if they came about next year?
Personally, yes I would be. As far as an ASI presidential perspective, I would want to know what the students want with it. I believe if it’s presented the right way it will get passed…
And what would you say to critics that say, ‘We’ve already been through so many fee increases. Why do we need this?’
Pretty much — do we know what the fee increase would be?
Not particularly — it wasn’t quite narrowed down specifically, because it got put on hold.
OK, so we have the student body, which makes up 20,000, 25, 24 thousand students. Collectively, I believe we could raise a lot of money. Whether it’s a $15 increase, I know ASI gets $15 from students tuition each semester toward their ASI budget. It could be a $10 increase, $5 increase.
To the critics, I’d present them with what the purpose of it is, and if there are more critics than there are people who are in favor of it, then I don’t think it should happen.
Have you heard about the campus’ impaction plan? (Administration is) trying raise admission requirements. As ASI president, obviously, you have the ear of Castro and a lot of top administrators, so you’re expected to represent the student voice. On issues like this impaction plan, how would you represent that?
Impaction, you’re talking about getting into Fresno State, right?
Yeah, so raising admission requirements especially in highly impacted majors like nursing.
… You know, when I got into Fresno State, I think I got a little lucky. You know, I think the core of the current student body got in at a time when applications were high, and the demand for students here was pretty high.
And right now we have the student body that we need. We have the population, if not we have more. I think raising the standard of students getting in is a good thing. It ensures that we’re going to have students who are coming the full four years to five years, less dropout rates, less students dropping out and re-apply.
I think it’s beneficial to all of us. It’ll raise the GPA as a whole. It’ll bring young motivated individuals to the campus, and I think that’s what we need. I think that’s what the top-tier colleges do, and we are a top-tier college, so we should act like one.
What do you think separates you from your opponent, Abigail Hudson?
Abigail Hudson is an awesome individual. I actually know her personally, through the Greek community. We’ve developed a relationship. She’s from an awesome organization. Awesome young lady.
I think what separates me is relatability, accountability and action-plan making. I can describe that last one, because I know it sounds kind of off.
But, a lot of ASI presidents come in, they say what they’re going to do, they have awesome ideas, have awesome goals, but do they follow through?…
I believe the campus has a need for student body representation. I think I can do it through ASI and with my connection to the Greek community. I feel like I can combine them to create a huge system.
On some big issues, how would you approach them differently than the current ASI? What would be the difference in your administration?
The difference in my administration would be getting what the students want into it. Because ASI can make 1,000 decisions in one semester, but did they ask the students if those are the decisions they want?
You know, not every student is going to show up to ASI meetings and say they don’t want that to happen. It’s ASI going out and finding out what the students want…
Another big thing with the CSU and UC systems coming down from the state level is campus smoking policies, with things like e-cigarettes and tobacco. Currently, we have designated smoking areas. There’s a lot of campuses that have just nixed smoking completely. Do you have a particular view on this issue?
I think there should be designated smoking areas. I mean Disney has designated smoking areas, which is a place for kids. If college students can’t handle designated smoking areas, then I start to, I guess you could say, slightly judge them.
I’m not a smoker myself, so I don’t understand the need for it, but I know that people use it as a stress reliever, as something to do between classes and what not. So I believe the campus should have designated smoking areas…
Current IFC President, 11 social frats,
Last year, IFC recruitment chairman
Senior, 5th year, Kinesiology
Served on ASI Dance Marathon planning committee, coordinator of events, promoted, raised 6 grand,
PIKE member, fall 2011, executive board, current recruitment chairman.
Running independently, planned to be on slate
How do you think your experiences would relate to your performance as president.
I think that those experiences are all the reasons why my performance as president would be successful.
How would you go about doing that — reaching out to the students and bringing them into ASI?
It’s started now with my campaign. I’ve been speaking at different organizations, whether its club sports, greek organizations, multicultural organizations. I’ve even hit up the dorms, like people who run that, and just going over there and speaking to them — putting a face to what I am, and telling them my goals and ideas. Having them voice their goals and ideas, and then finding out how I can help them.
I emailed every president of every organization in the 2014-2015 clubs and orgs packet. We exchanged numbers, so every organization on this campus has my number, and I think that’s a start. 4:24***