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ASI accomplishments throughout a year

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ASI accomplishments throughout a year

Oscar Alvarez, Alana Lim, Alex Dominguez, Precious Nwaoha and Mariela Gomez discuss student issues in an ASI meeting. Photo by Runner Archive/ The Runner

Oscar Alvarez, Alana Lim, Alex Dominguez, Precious Nwaoha and Mariela Gomez discuss student issues in an ASI meeting. Photo by Runner Archive/ The Runner

Oscar Alvarez, Alana Lim, Alex Dominguez, Precious Nwaoha and Mariela Gomez discuss student issues in an ASI meeting. Photo by Runner Archive/ The Runner

Oscar Alvarez, Alana Lim, Alex Dominguez, Precious Nwaoha and Mariela Gomez discuss student issues in an ASI meeting. Photo by Runner Archive/ The Runner


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By Glendy Ardon

Reporter

“Students working for students” is the motto of CSU Bakersfield’s Associated Students Inc.  This year’s ASI leaders have been busy working on meeting student needs.

Scholarships, a food pantry and grants for students are just few of the accomplishments ASI achieved this term.

Ilaria Pesco, ASI’s Executive Director, oversees the management of ASI, and she wants students to know that ASI is here to advocate for them.

“We are funded by student dollars, and we want to give back,” said Alana Lim, the ASI Executive Vice President.

Lim said that ASI has done well this year in serving student needs.

Kern Value Card

The Kern Value Card is something new that has just launched this semester. This card offers great deals and discounts to students who purchase. The purpose of the card system is to build a fund and give back to students.

Lim said that the new Kern Value Card (KVC) was one of the campaign goals ASI President Alex Dominguez initially proposed.

Oscar Alvarez, Vice President of University Affairs, said that the KVC has been a success and something he is proud to have helped implement.

Alvarez said that the sales of KVC “broke even within the first week of it being sold.”

“[The] revenue is used to fund projects to dedicate strictly to students and scholarships,” said Lim.

Lim said that the card sales have made student scholarships possible.

“We now have a reliable source of funding scholarships. We just implemented the card this year… we will still allocate money, and the KVC card will contribute to the fund,” Lim said.

“Any money that we make on this is going to go back to housing and security issues…we’ll be able to build a fund and gift more scholarships,” added Pesco.

Next school year, the card will be offered starting in the fall semester. It will cost $20 and be usable for the entire school year.

Combatting Food and Housing Insecurity

According to Pesco, ASI set aside $4,000 in the beginning of their term to give back to students who have food and housing insecurities.

Seven student scholarships were awarded by ASI this spring to selected students.

The issue of food and housing insecurities is perhaps the biggest issue students face, and Pesco said that each one of those students who applied for the scholarship were deserving of it. The need for this type of assistance is evident.

“Over 200 students applied for scholarships, and there were a lot of deserving students,” said Alvarez.

“Seven students received a $500 scholarship, and over 160 students applied,” said Pesco.

Pesco said that ASI is very involved with food distributions, volunteering and getting the word out to students about this assistance.

“This campus does have a big need for resources to help alleviate the food and housing concerns they face,” said Pesco.

Pesco explained, “other universities offer a food pantry to their students, and this is something that our student leaders noted and worked hard to provide in an effort to combat food and housing insecurities.”

Food Pantry

This Fall, ASI will offer a food pantry to those students who need assistance, and some of the items offered will be coming from the edible garden at CSU Bakersfield.

“ASI is working with the Office of the President for the edible garden that will be used to supply the food pantry, which will be opening this Fall,” said Pesco.

The food pantry was another achievement attained this term.

“The operation is student-driven. My job is to help ASI get into various pockets of the university,” Pesco said.

Environmental Goals

ASI worked arduously to attain a grant to promote sustainability and civic responsibility in the form of composting food.

Pesco proudly shared that ASI’s accomplishments include a “$3,000 grant for starting a composting program post-consumer, which means that aside from Runner Café doing their part in the kitchen to compost, we will all be able to participate and contribute to the cause of reducing the waste.”

Alvarez said, “As I look back on ASI accomplishments, I am happy about the $3,000 grant CSUB received for the composting program. We highlight our efforts with recyclability and promote environmentally friendly activities like Earth Week.”

Reducing waste is a theme ASI has embraced this term.

Pesco shared that ASI has held two E-Waste drives and have collected over 18,000 pounds of waste. This waste has been diverted and is reducing the amount of waste sent off to dump sites.

Grants

This term, ASI has also allocated S40,000 in funds to give back to clubs and organizations.

Additionally, ASI has set up travel grants for conferences and training, according to Pesco.

Part of the deal is that the students who are granted aid will share information with the campus community.

The Bakersfield Jazz festival has also been supported by ASI, allowing CSUB students to attend the festival for free.

Promoting Involvement

Lim is especially proud of the restructuring ASI has undergone.

Pesco explained that ASI has added a judicial branch of directors that represent targeted voices and serve as a neutral group in the ASI.

“Each student is a member of ASI. An organization can’t govern with 10,000 voices. Students elect a board, and the board is here to represent you,” Pesco said.

“Alex and I wanted to get voices that were reflective of our campus population. It’s important to us. Our campus is more diverse, and the addition of the judicial branch and director positions give the opportunity for these voices to be heard,” Lim said.

“The board this year has really thought about being the voice for students,” said Pesco.“For example, there was an expressed need for a microwave available to students after hours, and this concern was heard.”

A microwave will soon be placed in the 24-hour study lounge in the library for students to use.

Pesco wants students to know that ASI is their voice.

Recently, ASI president Alex Dominguez went to D.C. to represent CSUB and advocate for Pell grants and DACA students.

“They work hard every day,” Pesco said about ASI student leaders.

Lim firmly believes that ASI has effectively served students at CSUB.

“Our ultimate goal was to create a new environment that welcomed anyone who wanted to get involved,” she said.

ASI needs the involvement of the student body to effectively govern and serve students.

In order to be successful, Pesco said she wants to facilitate the communication of students and their leaders.

“We only know if there are issues if they tell us. Let us know through social media, come into the office, email us. Ten thousand eyes out there are going to be able to help us solve these issues. Twenty people can’t have eyes everywhere,” Pesco said.

Progress is evident, and in order to continue this movement forward, students must be involved. Pesco wants students to know that it’s a team effort.

“Each one of us can get out there in all pockets and voice issues. Let’s figure it out together,” she said.

Lim said, “I hope students join in and propel the change. ASI is there to provide resources for students to succeed… all it takes is that first step.”

 

The ASI board discussed issues affecting students during a meeting on Friday April 7. Photo by Karina Diaz/ The Runner

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ASI accomplishments throughout a year