Studying for midterms. Attending lectures. Doing group projects. Managing a Web site that competes with multimillion-dollar companies?
It’s all in a day’s work for Arvand Sabetian.
“When a Web site has to be up 100 percent of the time and you’re sitting in class, it gets a little bit frustrating,” said Sabetian, operations manager of the Web hosting business Arvixe.com, of which the gross value he places between $250,000 and $300,000. “It becomes a lot harder to concentrate because you can be somewhere else fixing something rather than sitting in your class, but it’s just the nature of things.”
For the 22-year-old Cal Poly civil engineering senior, fixing things has become a mindset that goes beyond his personal pursuits.
A year after unsuccessfully running for president of Associated Students Inc., the two-year College of Engineering representative on the ASI Board of Directors has renewed his campaign.
Issues facing students have evolved from last year, Sabetian said.
“Having seen them develop, I feel like I’m the best candidate for the job,” he said. “I know the past, and I know where it should be taking the future.”
The most pertinent matters on the horizon, according to Sabetian, are alleviating the effects of the state’s budget crisis on students, overseeing pending University Union renovation and facilitating planning and implementation of the upcoming Recreation Center expansion – a measure he supported.
In order to ease the brunt of looming student fee increases – called by Sabetian the “main point” and a “vital element” of his would-be term – he outlines plans ranging from uniting the hundreds of thousands of students throughout the California State University system into a statewide lobbying bloc to locally approaching community businesses seeking discounts for students with PolyCards and increasing ASI sponsorship of clubs otherwise overly self-funded by its members.
Other endeavors Sabetian promised to undertake include providing a bus line to the Poly Canyon Village project and continuing the Sober Ride program started by incumbent president Brandon Souza, whose tenure he assesses as “great.”
Sabetian said a strength of his campaign will be in generally maintaining the vision currently sought by ASI.
“A whole grassroots (attitude of) going against a lot of what ASI stands for right now is not going to help where ASI is going,” he opined. “It’s taken ASI a long time to get here. ASI can be impacted; ASI can’t be changed. I don’t plan on changing anything – I plan on improving things.”
To Sabetian, his added experience working within ASI will only help ensure such continuity.
“This year I have an extra year on me, so in that by itself, I’ve met more students, I’ve met more issues and I’ve worked with more organizations on campus,” he said. “I have that extra knowledge with me I didn’t have last year.”
The Santa Rosa native said his second, “toned down” and “more sustainable” campaign will cost slightly less than $1,000, a year after three hopefuls – himself included – piled up roughly $5,000 more apiece in expenses.
“(My campaign) will allow students to breathe and make their own decisions,” Sabetian said. “Last year the students were just bombarded with advertising from all three sides. My campaign is going to back off from students at least for the initial half-week to a week to try and really allow them to get out there and see what’s going on. And then I’ll try to get my name out there as best as I can.”
Sabetian’s campaign slogan, “What can Arvand do for you again?” as a play on last year’s – which was simply sans the “again” – embodies what he explains as a resilient desire not only to hold office, but to impart the best parts of his stay at Cal Poly to others.
“The reason I ran last year mainly was because I wanted to bring a unique perspective to ASI,” he said. “I still fully believe in that. I’ve truly enjoyed my time here at Cal Poly, and I want to make an impact everlasting for students to enjoy after I’m gone. Losing once isn’t going to stop me from doing that.”