Apr 102003
 
Authors: Amy Bergstrom

Jesse Lauchner and Katie Clausen want to hear the voices of CSU students.

Lauchner, next year’s president of the Associated Students of CSU, and Clausen, next year’s ASCSU vice president, say their first priority is hearing from the students.

“We really want everyone’s input,” Clausen said. “We want you calling, emailing, coming into the office, stopping us as you see us on the (Lory Student Center) Plaza and telling us what you think. We’re here to represent the students.”

This communication goes both ways, Lauchner said.

“I think a lot of people are extremely unfamiliar with the importance of ASCSU and it’s hard for the entire process to work without students being involved,” he said. “It’s also important for us to come back and say, ‘these are our goals we’ve worked towards and here is where we’re at.'”

Clausen said that although the ideas from their platform are important, they “can’t get bogged down in the goals from the cabinet side.”

Cabinet work will affect students, but they will be more personally affected by events, she said. “There are going to be current events that are going on that ASCSU will need to focus on.”

The biggest issues of next year will be the new university president and the budget cuts, which are already having a significant impact, Clausen said.

David Bower, the current president of ASCSU, said that this was the first year that ASCSU had hired a lobbyist to represent the students at the state capitol and that he hopes this representation will continue with Lauchner and Clausen in office.

Clausen agreed and said, “With the budget cuts, the new president and everything going on, we need a professional at the capitol lobbying for the students.”

Bower has set a precedent on the importance of dealing with the administration and the legislature, Lauchner said.

“We’re very fortunate to pick up on the tail end of his administration,” he said.

Thursday, Lauchner and Clausen addressed students on the Plaza at the first annual ASCSU Presidential Festival.

Elizabeth Miller, a sophomore wildlife biology major, sat in on the festivities and said that she was especially concerned about the budget cuts.

“I’m interested in how they’re going to keep all of the services we’re used to,” she said. “I’m an officer of Ski Bums and I don’t want our funding to be cut.”

Miller said that she voted for Lauchner and Clausen because of their enthusiasm.

“They seemed really motivated,” she said. “They were always out (on the Plaza).”

Bower was also impressed by their campaign.

“Jesse and Katie did some innovative things to get their name out,” he said.

Clausen said their time on the Plaza was an important part of the campaign, specifically the distribution of flowers.

“We knew that most students were not going to throw away a flower,” she said. “It’d be sitting on their table with a Jesse and Katie flier on it with our Web site, and they would go to our Web site and find out our issues.”

Both Lauchner and Clausen have experience working in ASCSU, which Bower said will be helpful.

“They have a lot of experience and a lot of fresh ideas,” he said. “They both have a lot of ambition about making CSU a better place.”

Some of the main issues on the agenda next year for Lauchner and Clausen are addressing environmental concerns, implementing a sober-ride program, working with the new president and evaluating academic issues.

They will be adding an environmental position to the ASCSU cabinet to work on issues such as double-sided printing and stopping the use of Styrofoam in the residence hall cafeterias.

In the academic arena, Clausen said they will be evaluating the advising system, the plus/minus grading system and freshman seminars.

She also said that ASCSU will be working with Transfort to increase routes in student-heavy residence areas and possibly looking to create an off-campus parking lot from which students could ride Transfort to campus.

In view of current budget cuts coming from the state legislature, funding will be a big issue next year, but Lauchner said that he and Clausen are ready.

“We’re optimistic,” Lauchner said. “We’ll go through a lot of hard times but it’s going to be a great year.”

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