Sep 142009
 
Authors: Matt Strauch

I will be honest, when I first joined the Associate Students of CSU last December I wasn’t expecting much. Based on what I’d heard, Student Government at CSU seemed to have a level of topical cheesiness that one could equate with a cheeky restaurant. Too many employees, not enough substance.

As my high school senior class president, I actively participated in numerous activities throughout my school community. Being as involved as possible was important to me because the busy body I am needs nourishment.

Since then, and with several years working in the world of professional arts administration, I was ready for a divergent path where I could contribute something worthwhile while amassing valuable learning experience.

That this is exactly what ASCSU provides me now. In my role as the press secretary, I have the opportunity to inject myself into nearly every aspect of our mostly autonomous $1.8 million organization.

That’s right — $1.8 million. Every semester all full-time fee paying student pays $35.17 per semester to ASCSU. This figure far exceeds most collegiate student governments while carrying much responsibility.

After a few weeks, I began to understand the important role ASCSU has for CSU. My participation was valued and my work important.

ASCSU is responsible for an amazing breadth of activities, initiatives and long-term planning within the CSU community. We ensure that student voice is heard in every corner and venue possible while giving students the best bang for their buck.

Highlights of things we do for our constituents, the students of CSU, include operating RamRide, funding Transfort’s CSU service (now with extended evening service), special events such as Bike to School Day (occurring this Thursday), advocating for students at the statehouse, running numerous boards concerning student fees, creating the student handbook and much more.

ASCSU functions similarly to the U.S. government. We have three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. Each operates distinctively on their own with important checks and balances. We have a lengthy constitution that defines our operations and sets the tone for policy making.

Our Supreme Court has a role in mediating disputes, hearing cases and taking an active and important role in pre-admit hearings held by the office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services.

The Senate consists of representatives apportioned from each university college. They meet Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Senate Chambers on the south end of the Lory Student Center. Ten cabinet level departments led by President Daniel Gearhart and Vice President Tim Hole comprise the executive branch.

The Student Fee Review Board, chaired by the vice president, meets every Monday and listens to presentations by various fee-based campus services. This committee, made up of mostly student representatives, designs the roughly $31 million student fee package for the upcoming year. Love or hate them, your fees are determined by a vote of your peers. The ASCSU Senate has ultimate authority on the final package sent to the Board of Governors for approval.

ASCSU truly makes a difference on this campus. Its voice is respected by our administration and the greater Fort Collins community, and our daily work goes to uphold a positive student image.

I invite you to stop by the ASCSU office in the Student Center, attend a session of Senate or visit us at http://ascsu.colostate.edu for more information.

Matt Strauch is a sophomore theatre and political science major and the ASCSU press secretary. His Collegian column appears on Tuesdays. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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