The multicolored T-shirts, giant billboards and bad music have returned to the Lory Student Center Plaza, which can only mean one thing: It’s student government election season.
Starting at 8 a.m. last Monday (and slightly earlier for one campaign), four pairs of hopefuls (and later a pair of write-ins) began campaigning for the top two spots in the Associated Students of CSU — the democratically elected body whose primary function is to approve the use of its logo on posters.
But did you know that ASCSU actually has real power to affect, either positively or negatively, your life as a member of the student body (provided you are taking six credit hours or paying full time student fees), and this power relates most directly to your bank account?
ASCSU oversees the use of the millions of dollars that come into the university in the form of student fees.
The Student Fee Review Board, an entity within ASCSU, yearly hears all calls for student fee increases/decreases and has the power to approve or disapprove of the use of those funds.
Happy about last year’s increase to help the Association for Student Activities Programming fund the Homecoming concert? Furious over the $15 fee hike to fund the Athletics Program? You can thank ASCSU.
But funding is not where the power of our dear student government ends. The less direct, albeit probably more important, function of your elected student body representatives often takes place beyond campus borders.
ASCSU folks have become increasingly more active in the last few years down at the state capitol.
Last spring, in conjunction with the Associated Students of Colorado, a student organization representing multiple Colorado campuses, ASCSU lobbied hard and successfully for the passage of a textbook transparency law authored by for ASC President Blake Gibson that requires publishers to disclose the cost of textbooks to professors in the original sales conversations, offer unbundled versions of their books and be transparent about the changes in revised versions of textbooks.
This year, ASCSU was again active down in Denver to push for a student vote on the CSU System Board of Governors. The bill ultimately failed in committee, but the effort involved shows that ASCSU is starting to take on real responsibility to create real change on campus.
But even without, as it stands now, a voting student on the BOG, the top ASCSU officials still serve an important function in representing student interests to the powers that be.
The ASCSU president is one of two nonvoting student members of the BOG, and as such, has an important role in providing the student stance to the people at the top of the CSU and CSU-Pueblo totem pole.
While popular perception is that ASCSU does next to nothing important, the truth is that when the right people are in the driver’s seat, our student government has the potential to do real work with tangible results.
And there’s only one way to make sure that the recent trend of ASCSU activity continues: by paying attention and voting.
CSU students have one week left to get informed on the issues and get to know where the candidates stand. If you’re confused about how, just hit the Lory Student Center Plaza later today and head toward the billboards and people wearing cheesy T-shirts — they’ll do the rest.
Once you’ve made your decision, hit RamWeb on April 6 and 7 to cast your vote. That’s right — you don’t even have to leave bed to cast your ballot.
For better or worse, ASCSU is your elected representative body. Get informed; keep the boneheads out.
Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.