Oct 112011
Authors: Allison Knaus

Sunday night, Associated Students of CSU President Eric Berlinberg was at Old Chicago celebrating his 22nd birthday with fellow ASCSU Director of Finance, Matt Strauch.

Earlier that day, he was at Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill enjoying lunch with ASCSU Chief of Staff Kaylyn Kardavani and Deputy Chief of Staff Regina Martel.

As of 8:00 a.m. Monday morning, Berlinberg was on the CSU campus.

While you may think that only a stalker would know where the student body president is at almost all times, the truth is that anyone can find out where Berlinberg is via social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, a location-based social networking website that allows users to “check-in” to different venues.

But that’s not all. On top of his course load and presidential duties, Berlinberg has his smartphone glued to his hip, making him –– according to his fellow ASCSU members –– more approachable and relatable to the CSU student body.

“If you call Eric, chances are he’ll answer, call you back soon and arrange a time to meet,” said ASCSU deputy Chief of Staff Regina Martel. “He wants to be there for students because he truly does care about this campus.”

And, this “plugged-in” mindset is not just for fun, but also shows the future of transparency among public figures, said Matt Strauch.

“He’s definitely a trendy, technologically-savvy guy who’s plugged into everything,” Strauch said. “Eric takes the responsibility of an elected public official of the height that will probably be the standard in 10 to 15 years.”

As the president of a student body with roughly 30,000 students, Berlinberg is likely to have a packed schedule going from class to meetings, all while still managing a social life.

“Even though I’m president, I’m still a normal student and my social media use can reflect that,” Berlinberg said. “I still have 15 credits, I still go the gym and I still manage to go out with my friends. Hopefully, by students seeing this, they can see me as more approachable.”

With a crammed schedule, Berlinberg said he’s still up-to-date on his social media use and sees how students view his accessibility as a crucial part of his presidency.

“It’s probably my number one priority as president,” Berlinberg said. “Student’s are the ones I go to work for, and if I’m not available to them, then I’m not doing my job.”

Search Berlinberg on Google, and you’ll find more than six pages of results ranging from his social media sites to newspaper articles and CSU press releases.

So, while students may often only read or hear about Berlinberg, he gives students the opportunity to put a face to a name by being so available, said Danielle McConnell, ASCSU press secretary.

Berlinberg said he works 50 to 60 hours per week, including a once-a-week commitment to RamRide, trips to the capitol and Board of Governors meetings. He still manages, however, to make some time to be an average 22-year-old college guy.

“It’s a lot of work, but I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world,” Berlinberg said. “Going home at night, I sleep well knowing that what I do every day is making lasting change at the university that has given me so much.”

“I wake up excited to advocate for 30,000 students and everyday is different,” he added. “I don’t think any other job has that sort of satisfaction, excitement and ever-changing environment like this.”

_ASCSU beat reporter Allison Knaus can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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