Fresno State’s Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) passed a referendum approving a new senator at large position, which students will now have the opportunity to vote for on the 2019-2020 ballot.
The referendum passed with a 10-5 vote by the ASI senators. One senator who advocated the new position, which will represent sustainability on campus, was Senator for Resident Affairs Elizabeth Rocha Zuñiga.
“We’re the only CSU to not have representation when it comes to sustainability within student government,” Rocha Zuñiga said. “I do think that it’s important to have representation on things that affect us every day of our lives and that will affect us in the future.”
Rocha Zuñiga said the duties and responsibilities that the new senator of sustainability would oversee are currently shared among the other senators, senators said.
The ballot will include pros and cons of the senator position as well as descriptions of the senator’s duties to help students make an informed decision when they vote.
Reasons proposed in favor of the new position include furthering ASI’s goal to “promote a healthy and sustainable campus,” as well as being a unifying voice for student efforts to increase sustainability practices on campus.
Opposition to the creation of this new post said that all ASI senators should already be working to advance campus sustainability and that a senator dedicated to such an effort is unnecessary. Those opposed have also noted that a senator of sustainability would represent the entire student body, making it difficult to define the senator’s represented constituency.
The new senator position would also possess voting power, which opponents of the position assert would decrease the voting power of the current senator positions.
Some of the initiatives the Senator of Sustainability would be tasked with include promoting a compost program on campus as well as increasing and improving the university’s recycling efforts.
“If you’re someone who is vocal about these concerns, you have until Wednesday, so please come out,” Rocha Zuñiga said. “We’re all here to work together. So anyone who does run for office, just know that you have a really good team and a really good support system.”
Students will have the opportunity to vote for approval of the new senator of sustainability position from April 9 at 9 a.m. through April 11 at noon.