whitney guenther

Students, faculty and community members were invited to attend the “State of the Student Address” given by ASI President Tylor Middlestadt on Wednesday in the Performing Arts Center Pavilion, where he discussed the challenges students face today, as well as the opportunities ASI provides students to tackle them with.

Before Middlestadt spoke, he was preceded by Cornel Morton, the vice president for Student Affairs, and Cal Poly President Warren Baker.

“ASI represents 18,000 students,” Morton said, “(students who are) challenged by work responsibilities, family allegiances . . . every one of our students is different.”

Baker stressed that the path to the university level must be improved, noting that the K-12 system in California is struggling. To combat this, he said outreach programs have been created to help parents and schools of K-12 students understand the opportunities that will prepare and lead students to a university education.

“The university can’t stand by and do nothing,” Baker said.

But he also warned that “the squeeze” will be put on higher education in terms of money and academic success, and certain measures must be taken to succeed. These measures require increased attention to math and science -subjects that countries such as China and India are doing exceptionally well in – and balancing the curriculum with these subject and an environment that “fosters creativity.”

“I am confident . . . that we will meet this challenge,” he said, “(and we will) continue to be the world leaders in a way that will help the rest of the world as well.”

Finally, Middlestadt took the stage.

“Tonight is a culmination of – 10 months of work at ASI,” he said. “ASI is so much more than the person elected in my position – ASI is really about the transformation that occurs when people work with each other.”

He launched into the highlights of 2005, which started after his election in June when a CSU committee approved a policy for energy conservation that 14,000 students had been involved in – a cause that “brought the most unlikely people together,” he said. Cal Poly also contributed ten megawatts of renewable energy.

“To see it done now is a proud moment,” he said.

In August, 200 students throughout the state, including ASI delegates, met in Long Beach to discuss the price of education. The meeting put a statewide spotlight on the students and reached Sacramento, where the students were able to meet with the governor to talk about the issue. The message was heard, Middlestadt said.

“Had students not stood up, we wouldn’t have been on the radar,” he said. “Today, ASI continues to be a strong voice in Sacramento.”

Other important accomplishments throughout the year included working with the city of San Luis Obispo to find transportation alternatives and improving neighborhood relations throughout Mardi Gras.

Middlestadt said he hopes for a record turnout of 25 percent of the student body when ASI elections commence in May and encouraged students in the audience to get involved.

“(In ASI,) when you show up, when you don’t give up, you make a difference,” he said, adding to a standing ovation that students are the No. 1 priority and ASI serves as “the eyes, ears and voice of the students.”

Colin Goodridge, a junior art and design major, was impressed.

“It makes me feel optimistic,” he said. “I’m interested in getting involved . . . it’s amazing what’s going on.”

Goodridge was further impressed by Baker’s presence and it was the first time he had seen the university president.

“I wish at the beginning of every year he could show his face,” Goodridge said.

Becca Swanson, ASI chief of staff, said it was a good chance for students to hear President Baker.

“Not many students get to hear him,” she said, adding that many leaders throughout the school and community were in attendance.

“The event was a huge success,” former ASI President Blake Bolton said. “Tyler was diplomatic and poetic, his passion is really inspiring. Hearing about the state of the student – we got that and more.”

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