Ryan Chartrand

What’s in a beginning? Every year thousands of students walk into their first year of college at Cal Poly, wide-eyed and excited for the next chapter in their lives to begin. As ASI President, I am honored to welcome each of you, new and returning, to a new year.

When I entered these collegiate doors some three years ago my perspective was much different than it is today. This will not be easy, nor should it be, but rather, the next half decade should open your mind to a plethora of new ideas, experiences and realities.

As President, I am often asked for key pieces of advice regarding success at Cal Poly. My advice is to make this place your home and to find your roots. ‘Finding your roots’ isn’t static; there isn’t one path, nor is there one destination. In college, experience is everything. In order to make the most out of college, you have to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. I encourage you to study abroad, join a club, kayak Avila, give love, get love, volunteer, and start new. Remember, nobody knows the old you; this is your chance to start fresh, to show the world who you really are and what you want to be known for.

I look back at my career at Cal Poly and I can say with sincerity that I have no regrets. Sure, there were some slip-ups, some awkward moments, but like I tell my friends, ‘there are no regrets, just good stories.’

Perhaps this perspective would be different today had I taken alternate routes throughout my tenure. What if I hadn’t switched majors? What if I hadn’t approached that booth nearly four years ago at the WOW block party? Would I be the activist I am today? Would I be 21 years old with nothing but possibility ahead? The point is that I took the risk, I put myself out there, and I found my roots.

This year, Cal Poly has a lot of potential for change. Throughout my campaign for ASI President, I made it known that my commitment to student success was unwavering, and that I was going to push a set of three main initiatives; sustainability, diversity, and campus safety.

In addition, the year will unfold under an umbrella vision: ASI Student Government will work to “bring politics back to the students.” That said, I challenge each of you to take your passion and channel it throughout the university.

We at ASI have worked all summer to create a set of events, programs, and opportunities for students to make this vision a reality. Look out for a Diversity Forum in the Fall, a new Safe Ride Program in the Winter, and the State of the Student Address early next year!

Take this first week to explore your new microcosm of the world. For those of you who are new, visit nearby beaches or play some botchy ball at Mitchell Park, and for those of us who are returning, re-discover the reasons you fell in love with San Luis Obispo in the first place.

Angela Kramer is ASI Student Government president and a political science senior.

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