“Connect students to their ultimate college experience” is the motto of Cal Poly’s Associated Students Incorporated (ASI).
To bring this motto to life, the three branches of the ASI Student Government work together to advocate for student needs, represent student interests and plan events and programs to bring students together.
In an effort to advocate for students’ needs and wants, former ASI chair of the recruitment and elections committee Alexandria Raynes said that students are encouraged to come to ASI with any issues they have regarding Cal Poly and ASI will do its best to help them resolve said issue.
“A lot of this year I feel like students have been very frustrated and the board has as well with the university or the corporation,” Raynes said. “We’ve been trying to share students’ opinions about a lot of the different issues on campus like the library closing down, Castro coming to campus, food insecurity and Chick-fil-A.”
ASI is a private auxiliary organization, meaning that it is a non-profit created to support student success and provide students with a more well-rounded college experience. The organization provides financial support for services that are generally not funded by the state budget.
“As an auxiliary, we don’t necessarily have to follow as stringent of regulations as other parts of campus administration may have to do,” 2023-24 ASI Chief of Staff Tyler Coari said. “That said, the University President Jeff Armstrong, has a sort of veto power against us as an entire organization and could bring us back into the fold of the university anytime.”
Both elected and volunteer student leaders make up the three branches of ASI Student Government, all of which work together to meet student needs.
The three branches include the Executive Cabinet, the Board of Directors, and the University Union Advisory Board (UUAB).
The Executive Cabinet
In the Executive Cabinet sits the ASI president, chief of staff, and nine secretaries. The ASI president is elected by the student body during the Spring quarter of each academic year.
According to Raynes, the members of the Executive branch function as the most visible part of the ASI Student Government. They regularly meet with President Jeffrey Armstrong and also with city and state officials to represent student needs at every level.
Each of the nine secretaries in the Executive Cabinet has their own focus. Some of these focuses include sustainability, accessibility and internal affairs.
The secretaries work with ASI staff, student volunteers and community members to help carry out the goals put in place by the ASI president.
The Board of Directors
The Board of Directors comprises student-elected representatives from each of the six academic colleges on campus. There are 24 members on the Board of Directors including the Chair of the Board.
The number of representatives for each college varies depending on the size of the college. Coari explains that the Board of Directors serves as the official voice of the student body and the governing board of the organization of ASI as a whole.
“We have oversight of every single employee in this organization, including the executive director,” Coari said. “That’s something that you don’t often see, but it’s an important function of the Board of Directors.”
As the voice of the student body, the Board of Directors passes resolutions that urge Cal Poly officials to listen to the needs of students and act accordingly.
This branch also determines how funds are distributed to different programs under ASI that do not already have funds allocated.
“For instance, the Children’s Center is a mandated program as per student referendum, and so, we have to put aside a certain amount of money that is taken from student fees to put toward the Children’s Center every year,” Coari said. “But, there are things such as how club funding is doled out annually that are under our purview directly.”
The University Union Advisory Board
The UUAB oversees ASI-managed facilities, which include the Recreation Center, University Union, Sports Complex, the Cal Poly P and more.
The board is comprised of six representatives from each of the colleges, the UUAB Directors Designee and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the UUAB.
The six UUAB representatives individually advocate for their colleges based on their own judgment, according to former UUAB CAFES representative James Francucci.
“If we would like to see, let’s say an artwork be displayed, we can have that recommendation, or if there’s some problem in the Rec center, we can address those issues,” Francucci said.
How to get involved
To get involved in ASI, students can either run for President or Board of Directors or simply work closely with elected members to spark change on campus.
Before running for President or the Board of Directors, students must fill out a candidate packet that asks for some personal and academic information. This packet also provides candidates with a space to write their personal statement that will appear next to their name on the ballot.
“These forms must be submitted by the filing deadline, which is decided by the Board of Directors every year,” Raynes wrote in an email to Mustang News. “Legally, the filing period must be between 50 and 120 days before the election.”
If the filing period has passed, students may run as write-in candidates by filling out a form. In this case, their name would not appear on the ballot and people would have to write them in themselves.
Students may start telling people that they intend to campaign for a certain position, only after they have filled out all the required paperwork. They may not post on social media or have it in writing that they intend to campaign until the active campaigning period begins.
“Active campaigning starts at least 10 days before the election, in which candidates may attend events, make social media pages and put it in writing that they are running for a position,” Raynes wrote.
Students still have opportunities to get involved in ASI without officially running for student government by working closely with elected officials.
“They may ask to meet with them, work to write legislation or come to our meetings’ open forum to publicly speak on any issue that is troubling them or that they are passionate about,” Raynes wrote.