Student input wanted by ASU

By Brian Boyle, Spotlight Editor

The Associated Students Union hosts a meeting every Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in AA-207 to decide and allow for public input on how the student activity fee is spent, among discussing other issues.

During the meeting on Oct. 8, ASU Vice President Huong Vu raised a concern a student had presented her with. Vu said a student told her she had emailed a member of the ASU and received no response. Vu said that although there could be a number of reasons the email was not answered, the ASU Board needed to make sure it was communicating with those that sought their correspondence.

A substantial decrease in the budget for the ASU’s Fall Festival was discussed, as was the ASU’s recent trip to Washington D.C. for the American Student Government Association convention.

“Technically we still have an allocation of $15,000 for the Fall Festival (Oct. 28),” ASU President Antone Agnitsch said. “Though we pretty much cut the budget in half.”

Agnitsch said the ASU’s budget is currently looking to fall in the $7,500-$8,000 range. He said the board is looking to spend $2,000 on inflatable jumpers, $1,000 on food, and an additional $1,000 on a pumpkin patch for the children at the Early Learning Center.

Smaller charges that make up the rest of the Fall Festival budget, Agnitsch said, are $300 for a DJ, $350 for a henna artist and $200 for supplies.

Agnitsch said advertising for the Fall Festival is the largest problem associated with the festival.
“Sometimes the things we do (to advertise) just don’t work,” Agnitsch said.

The ASU Vice President of Clubs Safi Ward-Davis said word-of-mouth was the most effective tool the ASU had to advertise.

Ward-Davis said the board needs to make itself known on campus by approaching students and opening up a dialogue about what students want from their student government.

“People know I’m on the ASU because I approach students,” Ward-Davis said.

ASU Secretary Diksha Chhetri gave a breakdown to the ASU Board on what she, Agnitsch and Ward-Davis experienced during the ASGA trip, which went hand-in-hand with Ward-Davis’s encouragement to approach students.

Chhetri said at the ASGA trip they learned discussed training, spending of their budget and communication between the board and students.

Agnitsch said they learned about the importance of surveying, and detailed how the ASU Board would be attempting to do a SurveyMonkey survey to find out how students want the student activity fee spent. Agnitsch said, although surveying is important, it would be equally important for the board to step out of their offices and interact with students.

Chhetri said, “We are not a club. We are here to represent students and do something real.”

Chhetri said the ASU needed to break away from the practices of the previous ASU Board and look toward being creative.

Chhetri said training was one of the ASU’s paramount concerns, as well as actually connecting with new members. She said fellow ASU Senator Anushma Maharjan said she felt uncomfortable approaching members of the board, as she did not know them. Chhetri said she felt similarly when she first joined the ASU. She said the last ASU director of training and recruitment did little to make her feel welcome.

ASU adviser Ericka Greene said the ASU’s connection with the ASGA gave the ASU Board the option of having professionals train them on the various aspects of running a government, handling a budget and even on parliamentary procedure.

Ward-Davis displayed a number of items the ASU could purchase and have their logo placed on, and then sell to students to advertise the board.

The items included ear buds that could be labeled ASU, a wall-mounted cellphone holder to hold a cellphone while charging and a wallet to hold credit cards on the back of a phone, which would display them and the ASU’s logo whenever one answered their phone.

Ward-Davis said one topic of discussion were problems different colleges face. She said many of the problems she heard from even the largest, wealthiest colleges sound similar to problems at Contra Costa College.