Mar 232010
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Editor’s Note: This is the second story in a three-part series. Check the Collegian Thursday to read about the third of three teams running for student government president and vice president.

Dave Ambrose and April Ragland are fed up with complacency.

The duo, now running for the top seats in student government, said the organization has been “playing the political game” of CSU administrators, allowing them to push personal agendas and ignore the student voice for too long.

“We just don’t believe (the Associated Students of CSU) is standing up for students,” said Ambrose, a sophomore business major who has been with the organization for two years and is running for president.

Before forming their campaign, Ragland said she and Ambrose hung posters in nearly every building on campus where students could leave tips about what issues are most important to them. They’ve been researching both issues and solutions since last semester.

Running under the brand “Defying the Status Quo,” the team said they selected the most frequent suggestions for its ticket:

  • Adding cars to RamRide to decrease wait times,
  • Advocating for improved graduate student benefits, including insurance,
  • Developing an online suggestion box for students,
  • Extending Morgan Library hours to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday,
  • Free “emergency” printing of 50 pages for all students,
  • Increase accessibility of Transfort, the city bus system, and
  • Allocating more of ASCSU’s budget to support student organizations.

“We’re tired of platforms that are immeasurable,” Ambrose said, explaining that before making promises to students he and Ragland, a junior human development and family studies major, spoke with administrators in every area they seek to improve.

“One hundred percent of these campaign platforms can be accomplished by day one,” he said.

Increasing Transfort’s efficiency, Ragland said, was a universal suggestion and one she can identify a serious need after using the system herself.

Some routes, she said, have more than 100 students in need of transportation every hour and Transfort officials are willing to consider potential fixes for the crowding. The measure could encourage more students to use free transportation and alleviate parking congestion.

Ambrose and Ragland have reworked ASCSU’s budget, a task winning candidates are asked to complete shortly after elections. They said if they find themselves running the show, the long-lived, “wasteful spending” of students fees will stop.

The funds that would no longer be tied up as a result of an inefficient budget, Ambrose said, would go toward increasing the Student Funding Board’s budget, which was $204,000 this year. The board allocates money to student organizations looking to host events.

Changing ASCSU’s inner-structure hasn’t been a primary campaign focus, but Ragland said she and Ambrose plan to combine some positions within the executive cabinet and enhance the organization’s Department of Diversity and Outreach.

“Clearly ASCSU isn’t as diverse as our campus, and that goes to show we’re not making an effort to reach out to students,” Ragland said. She said students should be comfortable approaching ASCSU for help.

The virtual comment box, where students can leave suggestions for the organization, will also help this initiative, they said.

In an effort to reach out to graduate students, who Ambrose said are under-recognized for their contributions to CSU, the pair is working to catch CSU up to other institutions that pay annually for the price of students’ insurance plans, like the University of Illinois.

They are coordinating with the help of Steve Blom, director of Hartshorn Health Center, and Seth Anthony, president of the Graduate Student Council, among others.

Ambrose and Ragland said they are spending each evening visiting student organizations to break from what they said is ASCSU’s trend of negligence with student outreach.

To learn more about the candidates and their opponents, students can attend two debates, one Friday at 11:30 a.m. on the Lory Student Center Plaza and the other March 31 at 7 p.m. in the LSC Theater.

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:27 pm

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