Where’s your school pride? Student government aims to improve campus climate

(Jorge Rodriguez/The Collegian)

Where’s your school pride?

It’s a question student government leaders are asking of their fellow peers ahead of several events planned to improve the Bulldog spirit at Fresno State.

“One of our priorities this year is to improve campus climate and school pride,” said Elias Karam, Fresno State’s Associated Students, Inc. vice president.

ASI plans on having more events and sponsoring programs throughout the year to get the spirit juices flowing among students and promote campus events while making students feel welcome at the university, according to Karam. He is betting that a spirited student population could lead to better academic performance among students and stronger attendance at campus extracurricular activities.

Among some students, the Bulldog spirit is already there, according to Karam.

“Just look at our recent football successes as one example, but there’s always room for improvement,” said Karam. “That is why one of ASI’s priorities is to put on events and programs that get students excited to attend Fresno State, while also providing a service to our student body.”

Such upcoming events include the homecoming tailgate and potential mural projects on campus.

Coming up sooner is a trip planned for Oct. 6, when three buses will head to Reno, Nevada for the Bulldogs’ football game against the Nevada Wolf Pack.

ASI is selling bus tickets to students for $20 dollars. That’ll cover transportation to and from Reno, game entrance and a meal. Tickets are being sold in the USU room 317. Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro funded the second bus while the University Courtyard funded the third bus, according to Gina De Young, Communications Assistant at ASI.

Getting students to come out of their shells and show their spirit for Fresno State is, at times, a team effort. Student Affairs and Enrollment Management tries to partner with ASI wherever they can, according to Dr. Frank R. Lamas, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

ASI joins student affairs to plan events like SAFARI, or student affairs fair and resource information, along with other activities like football games to give students a sense of belonging on campus, according to Lamas.

“We’re all committed to trying to give students the best experience that they can get while they are undergrads or grads here,” said Lamas. “It really takes a partnership between the students, student government, our areas and other parts of the university to listen and learn and then act upon what it is that people would like to see in that experience.”

Lamas, who came to Fresno State from University of Texas at Arlington, said there are similarities between both schools. Upon arriving at his prior university, programs, services, or things for students to do were in short supply, according to Lamas. The campus then got committed to improving student campus life – much like Fresno State started doing four to five years ago, according to Lamas.

Lamas, like Karam, credit campus spirit, pride and traditions to increased student involvement and engagement of the pupils.

With homecoming on the horizon, student affairs and ASI along with others continue to find ways to attract more students to explore just how vibrant Fresno State can be.

“I think that you see more students are involved than maybe once were,” Lamas said. “I’m thrilled that ASI, the president’s office, my office and others keep trying to do better and better.”

ASI gets about $15 in fees per student each semester. A specific budget focused on campus spirit activities has not yet been outlined due to the early stages of the initiative, according to De Young. ASI’s budget for the school year is provided on their website, fresnostateasi.org.

“In every event that we plan we try to really focus in on how this event or program will directly impact students,” De Young said. “ASI is run off of student fees and whenever we’re planning something we want to make sure those student fees are going right back to them.”

Just this week, ASI hosted the LEAD Academy, a program that “fosters student advocacy, joining student government and being a club leader.”

The program invited students to attend the Sacramento Student Advocacy Road Trip on Tuesday to learn about current issues influencing higher education and practicing leadership roles. Both transportation and lunch was provided. A second trip is planned for the spring.

Fresno State students Theresa Lopes and Anthony Perez are both music majors and members of the National Association for Music Education. Their campus involvement includes attending music events in the music building from time to time. This time of the year, according to Perez, is concert season.

“There’s so much benefit that you can get out of being involved,” DeYoung said.

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