New Faces and New Standards in SFSU Student Government
New Beginnings for ASI
August 23, 2005 3:52 PM
Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors are addressing ethics issues brought up by the previous board, outreaching to students who don’t know what ASI is, and putting together a new program which, in part, is designed to help students graduate faster.
“Already this summer, we’ve left ASI better than what we started off with,” said incoming ASI President Chris Jackson about the progress the new board has made.
Each semester students pay $42 to the student government, ASI, to be their influence on campus. Depending on enrollment, ASI takes in on average $2.3 million a year. ASI’s board of directors decides the best way to allocate the money, after subtracting operational fees. Board members are students, elected by students, who decide what will best serve the students' interests. Members hold term for one year, beginning in May. ASI also serves as the student’s voice to SF State’s administration by serving on committees that directly effect students such as the fee advisory committee and the Athletics advisory fee committee.
The 2004-2005 ASI Board of Directors had a tempestuous year, from the release of a five-year staff member to a cease and desist order given by the board to their President David Abella after he charged $1200 worth of services without board approval.
This year’s board is hoping to avoid any similar issues from last year by creating an ethics policy for its members. According to Jackson, the board is voting on it mid to late September. Jackson says he hopes to make all ASI policies available on their website at www.asisfsu.org.
ASI is also in the process of creating duty statements for the class representatives. Jackson said in the past it took board members a semester to understand ASI and then another to work on re-election.
During his campaign, Jackson said that one of the most difficult things he had to deal with was trying to convince students to vote without them knowing what ASI is or what it is that they do throughout the year. Last May’s election drew in the largest number of voters in five years but only reflected about 8 percent of the semester’s enrollment. Jackson hopes to improve this and has promised to outreach to at least 10,000 students this year. One of the things he says he wants to do is build up a database of students so that ASI can communicate to the students they serve.
“It’s all about accountability,” said Jackson, who wants to have an open door policy that would enable any student to come up to his office and voice their concerns. “I just want to be an accessible person,” Jackson added.
The Recruitment Retention Center, or Project Connect, is Jackson’s flagship project this year. Project Connect will help address the number of years it takes a student to get out of SF State. According to Jackson the average time is six years, Jackson hopes to lower this to at least five years. The trick is to take 15 units and not 12 if they want to graduate sooner, Jackson said. Project Connect also hopes to outreach to students in San Francisco city schools, promoting college awareness and specifically targeting low-income, under-represented students.
“Education is the quickest way to get out of the situation you are in,” Jackson said.
ASI also has to fill four vacated board seats; that of Representative at Large, Junior Class Representative, College of Education and College of Humanities Representatives. Jackson said that representatives for all the positions, except for the Education Representative, will likely be confirmed at next Wednesday's board meeting.
“We’ve hit the ground running since May 2, and we’ve been running on full capacity, hopefully the students see that,” Jackson said.
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