Brennan Angel

More than nine months into his term as Associated Students Inc. president, Todd Maki and the rest of the ASI staff have already made a number of changes that include progress with bus transportation, plans for credit and debit card use on campus, and the registration of student voters.

Maki met with city officials five times to address student concerns with San Luis Obispo public transportation, one of the main components of his 2006 campaign.

The relationship with the local community was key in implementing a new plan with the San Luis Obispo Public Works Department which heads SLO Transit.

“I have been very lucky. The presidents from the past few years have set up a good relationship with the community,” Maki said.

With the student input from ASI and student representatives like Maki, SLO Transit was able to attain an 18- to 24-month, large-scale county grant from San Luis Obispo Council of Governments.

The grant will extend bus hours at Cal Poly to later in the evening. All bus routes that stop at Cal Poly will be affected, including routes 4, 5, 6a and 6b, the most frequented by students.

Bus schedules will lengthen to 10:30 p.m., fitting the routines of many evening students and those on campus at night who use the Recreation Center or attend events.

Many of these changes with transportation are the results of heavy surveying implemented by the 2005-2006 student government, headed by Tylor Middlestadt.

“Last year Tylor and Lobby Corps surveyed over 300 students riding the buses,” Maki said. “They found the No. 1 priority was extending bus hours.”

For one week in May, ASI Student Government volunteers rode SLO Transit buses and surveyed student riders. Of those surveyed, 78.5 percent felt that the most important improvement to the bus system would be extended hours of service in the evenings.

When Maki took over the presidential position, he addressed the results found in the survey. The results were compiled and given to SLO Transit to consider.

However, some students will not be satisfied with the transportation changes.

“Bus times are the problem. If San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly could figure out a way to coordinate a better schedule that works with Cal Poly class scheduling, I think that would help more students,” said communications studies junior Megan Mahoney.

Transportation by car is also a huge issue with students. With the overcrowded parking lots and expensive passes, many students are frustrated finding a place to park and getting to school on time.

“I wish ASI would focus on parking as well,” said liberal studies and music junior Allyson Yabumoto said.

When Maki first looked at the lack of payment options on campus, he found that Cal Poly was the only CSU campus not accepting debit and credit cards.

Since meeting with students and administrators, and working with the Cal Poly Corporation, a plan to install all the proper hardware and software for credit and debit card use has been put into the 2007-08 budget.

Starting this summer, students will be able to use their credit and debit cards at all on-campus vendors.

Prior to his election, one of Maki’s main proposals was increasing student voter registration on campus. Working with Chief of Staff Melissa Robbins and the California State Student Association, CP Next: Generation Vote was implemented and registered close to 300 students on campus Nov. 1 and 2.

“We wanted to educate students and motivate them to vote,” Maki said of the program, which was active the Wednesday and Thursday before elections.

Closely related to CP Next: Generation Vote is CP Next: Generation Sustain, which took place on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and aimed to educate students about sustainability, both environmentally and culturally.

Another item implemented by the student government has been providing students with 515 daily copies of the New York Times for free. These are available for pick up in the University Union as well as other buildings on campus.

Even with all of its efforts on and off campus, it is still impossible for ASI to reach the entire student population. Many Cal Poly students feel that there is not enough student government activity and progress created by the organization.

“I haven’t noticed many changes this year with the exception of Mike Annuzzi and his adjustments in music at UU Hour,” said electrical engineering and physics senior Jeremiah Johnson.

Although many students share this feeling, ASI continues to address all student concerns. Next of his ambitions, Maki hopes to tackle the issue of the overcrowded gym facilities.

According to a mid-year report, the gym is the most common complaint among students.

Maki said that in order to end the current problem, ASI Student Government representatives need the commitment of the student body.

Maki feels that the 2006-07 school term is a success for ASI thus far.

“I have been lucky that there have not been many incidents this year,” Maki said, referring to problems, like Mardi Gras, that other ASI presidents had to face. The lack in problems has allowed the ASI staff to be more productive and reach all of their initial goals.

“This year has been very successful,” added Maki.

Graduating next March, Maki says he will miss the active role he plays in ASI but looks forward to the rest of his term.

“We are here for the students. We are an organization that is run with heavy student input in every aspect of it,” Maki said. “It is our job to find out what students needs are and bring them to fruition.”

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