The Cougar Chronicle

Students fund ASI campus initiatives

Associated+Student+Inc.+increased+their+fees+for+spring+semester+2018+to+better+the+student+life+at+CSUSM.+%0A
Associated Student Inc. increased their fees for spring semester 2018 to better the student life at CSUSM.

Associated Student Inc. increased their fees for spring semester 2018 to better the student life at CSUSM.

Micaela Johansson

Micaela Johansson

Associated Student Inc. increased their fees for spring semester 2018 to better the student life at CSUSM.

Jadan Smithers, Assistant News Editor

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The budget for Associated Students Inc. (ASI) increased by roughly $700,000 after students passed a referendum to increase the ASI semester fee from $50 to $75 last spring.

This fee increase will fund initiatives, including the library’s 24-hour zone, the Cougar Pantry, Festival 78 and a sustainability project for outdoor campus seating with solar powered charging stations.

The fees of approximately 13,971 students in fall 2017 and 12,819 students in spring 2018 contributed towards the ASI budget of $2,142,255.

Interim ASI Executive Director Dr. Annie Macias said surveys and research conducted by ASI prior to the referendum showed that “the number one priority was the issues around food and security.”

Roughly half of all CSUSM students struggle with food insecurity issues, according to the ASI Cougar Pantry webpage.

Dr. Macias said as ASI looked into this problem it realized, “we don’t have enough funds to really find the space or resources, even before the referendum came about.” In order to address this, ASI will fund the renovation of a Cougar Pantry office this summer. The office will be located next to the LGBTQA Pride Center on the third floor of the USU building.

In addition, “students want spaces to study after hours,” said Dr. Macias, “and when I say ‘after hours’ I’m not talking about after business hours, I’m talking about you may want to be here at midnight or one or two in the morning…and there’s safety issues around that.” This prompted ASI to coordinate with the university Library to create the 24-hour zone last semester.

ASI also found that “students wanted more large scale events,” she said. In response, ASI will increase funding for Festival 78, an annual on campus art and music festival. The festival will be held on April 22 and will feature three professional music acts — two more than last year — as well as more art displays. Dr. Macias said ASI plans to work with Tukwut Life, one of CSUSM’s event planning organizations, to provide students with more evening and weekend events.

ASI will also partner with the CSUSM Sustainability Club to create new outdoor seating between Markstein Hall and the Veteran’s Center. It will include shading provided by solar panels that also power a charging station.

“We have to be able to be responsive to the student’s needs,” Dr. Macias said, “we’re constantly changing and evolving as we get feedback from our students.”

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