A self-described “foot soldier of Associated Students Inc.,” psychology senior Jacob Alvarez has devoted his college years to public service and wants to continue doing so as ASI president next year.
“I’ve worked on the ground as a member of the ASI executive board and now I’m ready to be president. It’s basically a full-time job and I’m willing to take on that role,” he said.
Though currently secretary of student development for ASI executive board, Alvarez has been involved in more than ASI throughout his years at Cal Poly. In addition, he has served on the college based fees committee for his department, volunteered as an intern for the Department of Social Services, worked on the team recruitment committee for Relay For Life and served as a vista host in Cerro Vista where he lent his time and apartment to help low-income youths visit Cal Poly.
Neelie Jaggi, communication studies senior and secretary of campus climate and university concerns on the ASI executive board, says Alvarez has proved his dedication to service. “He has a lot of energy and you can really trust him. He always wants to help people and see if there’s anything else he can do.”
As secretary of student development, Alvarez has spent his time reaching out to students throughout the school, something he wants to tackle first should he win the election.
“I want to increase communication between all three branches of ASI,” he said. “Simple things like sending a newsletter or making the Web site more interactive out could markedly help. My goal is to give ASI to the students. I feel like there is a disconnect and I want to bridge that gap.”
He also wants the organization to have a stronger presence on campus.
“Talking one-on-one with students makes a huge difference. It’s much more comfortable to say concerns to one person than trying to talk to the whole group at an ASI meeting. I want everyone to know that their concerns are valid.”
Alvarez has outlined his goals in a three-part platform: degree progress, student access and diversity.
He wants to refine the graduation process: “Roadblocks exist for Cal Poly students working to graduate; these include budget problems, class access and registration issues. I want to enhance and promote the process,” he said.
Particular plans he mentioned include giving senior-level students priority registration, making registration resources more available to all students and reevaluating general education requirements. He added that if the college based fee funding doesn’t go through, he would advocate a reassessment of Cal Poly’s educational requirements.
“I’m a supporter of the funding, but if they don’t (get passed), I would want to work with deans to see what crucial classes we need. I feel a well-rounded education is vital,” he said.
He wants to increase student access to campus services: “ASI needs to restructure itself to make organizations more available to all students. I want to educate students about what ASI does and make it so they all feel comfortable to use everything the program has to offer. Even putting a comment box on the ASI Web site would be a good start,” he said.
He wants to keep promoting diversity: “I know it’s a hot-ticket item and to me it’s more than a buzzword. I’ve worked with so many populations and I have a real advantage from that, but it’s more than race. It’s diversity of thought, diversity of people I want to promote.”
One specific way he plans on promoting diversity is by increasing ASI co-sponsorship with multicultural organizations and promoting a multicultural educational component on campus.
“I’m not in favor of adding more graduation requirements,” he said. “I think we should look into reevaluating GEs and look into adding components there.”
Alvarez has also worked to promote student concerns at a state level by traveling to Sacramento to lobby for education funding. He’s also worked to build relationships with other California campuses.
“We really need to promote education. In this day and age, you do need a college education,” he said. “Education should be available to everyone.”
Jaggi thinks Alvarez would listen to what Cal Poly students want.
“He has a lot of experience wth diff clubs and wants to hear what the students have to say. He’s just really interested in addressing to student concerns,” she said.