Cougar of the Week: Q&A with ASI President Michael Garrett

Anneliese Esparza, Editor-in-Chief

ASI President Michael Garrett is working hard on making sure students can feel represented by student government. (Photo courtesy of Michael Garrett)

Michael Garrett is a fourth-year criminology major and ASI’s President & CEO for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

What do you do in your role as ASI president? What is a typical day like for you?

I spend most of my time in meetings and checking emails, advocating for the students, making sure that within all of the meetings I’m in, that I advocate for what’s best for the student body. Some of the different meetings that I’m in are the University Cabinet Meeting, search committees for new positions on campus and the COVID testing workgroup. In a typical day, I usually start my work around 8 a.m. I start by checking my email, I check what the day looks like, like different meetings I’m in for that day.

What is your favorite thing about being ASI president?

My favorite thing about ASI president is working with my executive team and my board of directors. I love working with a team, I learn a lot from them, and we all just bounce ideas off each other. And I love advocating for the students and being in a position that I am able to help the students grow their own voice, and this position has enabled me to further better the students and what they can do, not only for this year but also for years to come. 

Do you ever find it difficult to balance school and your ASI duties?

Short answer, yes, it can be difficult to balance school and ASI. But I have found ways that have helped me, such as making to-do lists and preparing early, so while it is difficult, it also is very rewarding and there are ways to do it, with preparation.

What are some things that you have been able to accomplish as ASI president? 

The biggest thing would be changing the way that different operations within ASI have changed with this new virtual lifestyle. So the Cougar Pantry, for example, we had to change the distributions in the beginning [of the pandemic]; MCT, which is our Media Coordination Team; we had to change the way that basically all of ASI has been operating. 

What are your goals for ASI this semester? What do you hope to accomplish during the rest of your term?

For this year as a whole in ASI, we have three main goals – social justice and equity, student engagement and success and health and wellness. So with the goals that I have for this semester, it all comes from those three main pillars that me and my executive team had set up in the beginning. And personally, my main goal as president is to make sure that the students of all different groups that are on our campus, that they know that their voice is heard and that they feel represented in our school. If students do feel like they’re represented, then I know I’ve done a good job as president. 

Are there any upcoming ASI initiatives or projects that students should be aware of?

Not as of this moment right now, but we will, though. As the semester progresses, we will have more things that we will do for this next semester. But as of this moment, we’re still starting off the semester and working on things that we’ve done in the past. The future of this semester looks bright, but we still are trying to figure out exactly which direction we’re trying to go into.  

If students ever have suggestions or concerns, what is the best way to get in touch with ASI? 

The best way they can get in contact with ASI is through our Instagram (@asi.csusm), and the best way they can get in contact with me is [my email] [email protected], and that is my direct work email.