It has almost been a full year since the newly implemented Associates Students, Inc. (ASI) Social Justice Program Funding applications opened. Now, these are funds are being put to use. Planned Parenthood Generation Action, Movimento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlan (MEXA) and the Multicultural Business Program are the first three clubs to use these funds.

ASI Social Justice Program Funding was approved in May 2018, allocating $15,000 from the ASI budget for the program. It is designed to give clubs additional funding to support educational programs promoting diversity and inclusion. Organizations can apply for up to $2,500 to be used towards a maximum of three events per year.

“It’s a resource that Cal Poly needs and I really wish students would take more advantage of it because I think there’s so much benefit in contributing diversity education at a campus where there’s a great need for that,” Chair of the ASI Board of Directors Mark Borges said.

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Video by Sam Spitz

Planned Parenthood Generation Action was awarded $2,500 to help host a one day conference called “UnstoPPable” (Reproductive Justice Symposium) on Jan. 21.

“The ASI fund helped our club, because we wanted to make sure that the event was free and accessible to the public,” Planned Parenthood Generation Action President Gina Welisch said. “Without the funding from ASI, we would have had to consider charging for tickets.”

The event focused on reproductive care and reproductive justice as well as workshops discussing topics on immigration, family separation, the flint water crisis, health access obstacles for the LGBTQIA+ community and the high maternal mortality rate for black women.

“I hope this fund can help other groups really get a spotlight for the great work that they are doing,” Welisch said. “Social justice work often goes unseen due to a lack of resources and visibility.”

The Multicultural Business Program received $1,500 to help them put on ID Week from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25. ID Week is comprised of events led by student organizations in the Orfalea College of Business (OCOB) celebrating diversity and inclusion.

The events throughout the week led up to the Leadership Beyond the Resume conference (LBTR) as an opportunity for students in OCOB to attend and learn more about the importance of diversity and inclusion.

“I think events like LBTR, Leadership Beyond The Resume, and ID Week are super important to the student body, so the funds helping us out, helping us put on those events were super beneficial in my opinion,” student coordinator for the Multicultural Business Program Diego Ambriz said.

They had guest speakers, including Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Wells Fargo to lead workshops on topics like social responsibility in the business world, resiliency and unconscious bias.

ASI Social Justice Program Funds also awarded $1,500 to Movimento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlan (MEXA) to help with their Xicanx Youth Conference which will be held Feb. 16. Xicanx Youth Conference is put on to promote post-secondary education for Latinx students in high school. The event is comprised of cultural, political and career-orientated workshops to help engage and motivate high school students to further their education after high school.

Applications for ASI Social Justice Program Fund are still open and can be found on the ASI Student Government website.

“My biggest recommendation is that student groups go out and apply for these funds because that money is available and really could add a lot of benefit to this campus,” Borges said.

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