Nicole Herhusky | Mustang News

Candidates are gearing up for Associated Students Inc. (ASI) elections for president and board of director positions, with official campaigning starting this week.

An ASI presidential debate will be held on Thursday, before the election from April 20-21.

There are 25 elected positions — ASI President and 24 Board of Directors members, one of whom is elected internally to chair the board. All positions serve one-year terms.

Each Cal Poly student pays nearly $400 in fees each year to ASI, which manages a budget of several millions of dollars going to facility operations (the Rec Center and University Union), staff wages and athletic scholarships, among other things.

An ASI ad hoc committee from the 2019-20 school year reported that student voter turnout for ASI elections has decreased every year since 2017. Since 2005, student voter turnout was consistently above 20% and even reached 35% — until 2018, when it declined drastically to below 15%. In 2021, student voter turnout was less than 10%.

Coby Chuang | Mustang News

ASI manages a quarterly budget of more than $8 million in individual student ASI fees, according to ASI data and Cal Poly’s total enrollment numbers.

“These are the people who are in charge of so many things that happen on campus and it’s important that you use your voice [by voting],” ASI Recruitment and Election Chair senior Jordan Perlas said. “These people are here to represent you … They want to make the Cal Poly experience more enjoyable for you.”

The Board of Directors decreased the ASI Presidential campaign spending limit earlier in winter quarter, reducing it from $1,000 to $750 in hopes of making campaigning more accessible. Board of Directors candidates are limited to $100 of spending.

“By lowering that amount, we tried to make it less of a money game,” Perlas said. “As ASI student government, we are trying to bolster … the ways that we can support people so they don’t have to use their money and go outside to [campaign].”

Perlas, who is a Board of Directors member, says many board members choose not to run for a second year, leaving spots open for other students.

“We try to recruit from outside [ASI] and get new perspectives and new leaders,” Perlas said. “Most of the time we try to make sure all [24 of] those spots are filled, but if not, we can go into a write-in candidate campaign.”

The board members are split proportionally among Cal Poly’s six colleges based on student enrollment. The College of Engineering gets five members. The Colleges of Liberal Arts, Science and Math, Business and Agriculture and Food and Environmental Science each get four and the College of Architecture and Environmental Design gets three members.

Students can only vote for their respective college’s representatives, but they are allowed as many votes as there are seats for their college.

“Say you are in OCOB — you get four votes because there are four seats,” Perlas said.

Perlas said civic engagement is important, especially when it starts on college campuses, as students who vote for school elections will likely participate in larger elections as well.

“ASI is really rewarding, and there is so much that can be done on campus if people have the moxie, if people have the drive to go out and do it,” Perlas said. “It’s really important that you use your voice to pick your representatives.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.