Just as he hoped they would, students “called on Bini” this week and elected agribusiness junior Jason Colombini into office as the next president of Associated Students, Inc. (ASI).
A mob of students wearing shirts with his signature “Call on Bini” slogan collapsed on Colombini as ASI Recruitment and Development Committee Chair Kate Calkins announced the results Thursday afternoon. Colombini nearly collapsed himself, holding on to the campaign team to keep himself steady.
Approximately 40 percent of students voted in the election, which current ASI president and sociology senior Katie Morrow said marks a new record for Cal Poly.
That’s not the only landmark in this election: Colombini will also be the first male ASI president since 2008.
“(I am) speechless, just all over the place,” he said minutes after learning of his victory. “This is all surreal. I’m shaking. I can’t even take it all in right now … I can’t even talk, honestly.”
Results posted on ASI’s website show Colombini seized a decisive majority of votes after an instant-run-off tiebreaker.
His 3,720 votes eclipsed those earned by his nearest competitor, sociology senior Haley Houle. She took 2,358, while political science junior Daniel Wasta barely reached 1,000 votes. Last-place Nate Honeycutt received 744.
During Calkins’ announcement in the University Union Plaza, she said the race ended in an instant run-off because no single candidate received more than 50 percent of votes. In order to complete the run-off, ASI added to vote totals the second-place rankings for those who voted for Honeycutt, since he came in last place.
University President Jeffrey Armstrong, who was not present during the announcement, sent Colombini a text message after Chief of Staff Betsy Kinsley told him the results. Armstrong said he plans to begin working with Colombini this quarter to help with the transition.
“I’m really delighted that we had four really good candidates running for ASI, and it’s one of those things in life that only one person prevails,” Armstrong said. “Jason’s going to be an excellent ASI president.”
During the campaign, Colombini used his platform to emphasize servant leadership. He said he would make it his top goal to represent students, and would forego some of the traditional perks of being ASI president.
He promised to not use the ASI president’s reserved parking space near the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center. He also said he would give students money he receives from scholarships because ASI pays for the president’s tuition.
Colombini will begin as president in June, taking office as current president and sociology senior Katie Morrow graduates. The two spoke briefly after they learned Colombini, the only non-College of Liberal Arts student running for president, would follow her into office.
“I’m excited to hand it over to him, but it’s sad,” Morrow said. “You know, handing it over to anyone would be sad, but I’m really happy for him and I’m excited to start working with him.”
Morrow said she’s known Colombini since his freshman year when he was president of the Sierra Madre Hall Council.
Following his time living in Sierra Madre, on-campus residents elected Colombini to lead Cal Poly’s Inter Housing Council. One year later, he took head of the Interfraternity Council, where he originally represented his Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.
While working with University Housing, Colombini pushed for, and eventually succeeded in, eliminating parking restrictions for freshmen living in certain residence halls.
This past year, he made it his goal to end deferred rush for first-quarter freshmen looking to join on-campus fraternities. That policy has not yet changed, but Colombini said he is optimistic after working with new Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey. The two are meeting Monday to discuss possible alternatives Cal Poly could implement in the future.
Several students asked Colombini during his campaign how he would prioritize greek issues, specifically wondering whether he would give them more attention because of his background. He responded that as Interfraternity Council president he represented roughly 16 percent of students, but he understands the ASI president must represent 100 percent.
“I understand who I am representing,” he said. “Yes, greeks are a part of it — but that’s not the entire thing. So it’s being fair and equal to all.”