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A panel of both incoming and outgoing executive officers led a roundtable discussion among roughly 50 student participants on issues such as the student government’s spending priorities and ongoing projects. The forum aimed to promote transparency within A.S. through an open discussion of topics ranging from increased recycling efforts to student involvement in budgetary issues.
A.S. President-elect Harrison Weber, a third-year history of public policy major, said the event sought to promote better communication among the association’s various entities and with the student body.
“A.S. should work on how they can work together,” Weber said. “The forum was a place to listen and talk about what the priorities for next year should be.”
The forum also served as a medium for students to discuss solutions to next year’s significantly impacted budget. According to current Internal Vice President Jake Elwood, a fourth-year political science major, the association will receive the same amount of funding for 2011-12 as they did for this Spring Quarter alone.
“We have this mind of expansion but really we’re shrinking,” Elwood said. “We need to change our focus of where we spend our money.”
Elwood said next year’s executives will need to concentrate on refocusing the management of student fees.
“A.S. can still grow; we just have to change our mindset,” Elwood said. “Food and T-shirts at every meeting is a luxury. We can do more, but in different ways.”
Current A.S. President Paul Monge-Rodriguez, a fourth-year sociology and global studies major, said student leaders are responsible for incorporating students’ interests into the association’s goals.
“As elected officials, it is their job to help the grassroots movements,” Monge-Rodriguez said. “Associated Students needs to be associated to the students. If not, then you’re irrelevant.”
Persian Student Group Co-President Armand Armin, a second-year economics and global studies major, said next year’s officials should develop focused outreach efforts to reach the greater campus community.
“There are different communities of students that are working really hard on all the issues A.S. is working on,” Armin said. “I think A.S. is ignoring these grassroots movements. You have to look at communities that are actually doing work. It’s not just the students, it’s the families — families that have been here for decades and are being ignored by students.”
On-Campus Representative Joseph Lee, a second-year political science major, said it is vital to provide information about student governmental matters to students who are living off campus.
“We need to put A.S. in new students’ heads, but we also want to get the off-campus population involved as well,” Lee said. “We should also think about transferring the good momentum that was built this year to next year.”