Nov 152011
 
Authors: Bailey Constas

On a windy Tuesday morning in the Plaza, the Associated Students of CSU tent practically blew away as students gathered to gripe to their government.

“It’s the winds of change!” said Leah Gonzales, ASCSU deputy director of governmental affairs.

Gripe to the Government is an event put on by ASCSU and the Department of Governmental Affairs, giving students a way to voice their opinions and complaints about CSU and the way Colorado is run.

Students are given a sheet with facts about the university that many students might not know, such as that, according to CNNMoney.com, CSU is considered one of the “worst offenders” of tuition increases in the country.

Then, on the back, they are given a place to leave their contact information as well as a place to write their concerns.

Members of ASCSU will then read these complaints and respond to each person in an email.

“We’ll respond to it in an email, and with actions hopefully,” Gonzales said.

Actions include taking complaints not only to the CSU officials but to the state as well.

Next semester, an advocacy day will take place where students will be able to go directly to Colorado state representatives and senators to talk about what needs to be changed.

As the first year that ASCSU has put on this event, more than 200 forms were collected –– four of them were positive reviews.

“It makes me happy that people do care and that they feel empowered to do something,” Gonzales said.

“It’s not just about complaints, that’s not our goal…we just want to know what people are passionate about and wake up in the morning wanting to change,” Gonzales added. “My job is to represent 30,000 students, and we want to know what should be changed. These aren’t just pieces of colored paper; they mean something to me.”

Of the 200 students who responded with a review, senior human and international development major Katie Baxter said her gripes are financial ones.

“I participated today because I think that the lack of funding and prioritization of higher education is a fundamental problem in this state and is something that all Colorado students and citizens should be concerned about and actively engaged in,” Baxter said.

Other concerns, besides tuition, included the U 2 occupancy law in Fort Collins, campus construction, parking, child care, advising, art around campus and demands for more free food.

“We’re trying to do a lot of outreach to students this year,” said Chase Eckerdt, ASCSU director of governmental affairs. “What students think should be changed can be substantially different than what ASCSU sees in the office.”

“Ideally, we’re generating ideas for our organization,” Eckerdt said.

The event was put into action after the Board of Governors Bill failed to pass last year, which would give students a vote on the CSU System Board of Governors.

Gripe to the Government was a way to “generate [the] student body to advocate,” Eckerdt said.

ASCSU will be out on the Plaza on Thursday beginning at 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. continuing to collect complaints.

Collegian writer Bailey Constas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:36 pm

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