Mar 222009
 
Authors: Conrad Miller

“What does my student government do?” was the question I asked myself just last year. Election season was just heating up, but I did not have a clue what the Associated Students of CSU was about.

Like most students, I saw things on campus that could use improving but didn’t know how to pursue them or if I had the time to do so.

Then last fall I was talking to my friend who had just joined ASCSU, and he convinced me to step into the office. After hanging out a few times I realized this was a cool organization. I saw fun, energetic people who were interested in improving CSU.

Seeing the different branches of ASCSU, I set out to become a senator. Soon I discovered that the kind of politics we often associate with government in general was not found in ASCSU. What I found instead was a group of friends getting together and working on student issues.

Within the first month of being a senator for the College of Liberal Arts, I brought hard copies of the Wall Street Journal to the Morgan Library. This was something many of my fellow business and economics majors had been requesting for a while.

A few weeks later, I was introduced to an area of college life most are never exposed to, but that is still very important: illegal electronic file sharing.

After a long process, the ASCSU Senate recommended, on behalf of the student body, that Early Settlement Letters — letters sent by the Recording Industry Association of American that attempt to “scare” recipients into a settlement without any sort of legal investigation — not be sent to CSU students.

By stopping the letters sent from the RIAA to students, we were working to allow due process to take place, preventing a common scare tactic and serving the student body’s best interests. This decision has saved frightened students from paying $3,000 whenever an RIAA investigator suspects wrongdoing in the dorms.

This past week, my colleagues and I submitted to our Senate a recommendation that the university only purchase, when available, Energy Star electronic appliances and 30 percent “post consumer” waste printing paper. This will save the university thousands of dollars and is also a great step toward being more environmentally friendly.

The examples I listed are only some of the many problems your Senate works on every week.

Senators can get involved with projects in various ways. We give the university recommendations on behalf of the student body, collaborate with other campus leaders, reach out to community members in Fort Collins and take action in various committees.

Now a year after my initial question, my perspective on student government is vastly different. I now see that it is fun to work in student government and students really can change this campus.

I only regret that I did not get involved with ASCSU earlier.

Conrad Miller is a senior economics major and is an ASCSU senator for the College of Liberal Arts. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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