By: Georgia Valdes and Nicolas Hernandez, Managing & Copy Editor
A vote during the July 23 Associated Students, Inc (ASI) Board of Directors meeting approved three cabinet positions, officer of civic engagement, officer of transfer engagement, and officer of diversity & inclusion.
According to ASI’s Cabinet Code, the officer of civic engagements is tasked with being the ASI Governmental Affairs Committee’s coordinator for voter engagement and communication—a role that will be of special importance as the November elections loom.
Second year political science and ethnic and women’s studies student, Nicole Stai intends to bring all her previous experience to the table for this position. As a Latina American, first generation college student, her interest in politics began early as she witnessed her mother’s experience in gaining American citizenship.
“When I heard about the civic engagement position, it was evident that the position was for me,” she said, “[The] things that I’ve grown up around and the things that I am really passionate about [are] increasing voter registration, getting people out there, getting people’s voices heard, and just talking and communicating with communities that are historically under served.”
Acting under the direction of ASI’s Secretary of External Affairs Alex Carcamo, Stai must develop a voter registration campaign, organize at least two voter registration drives and implement any other related programs. Even with the upcoming virtual semester, these duties are not too daunting for Stai who spent the last year interning as an assistant campaign manager for Jesse Armanderez’s San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors campaign.
“It’s essential that we condense as much information to the students in the most accessible ways…(minority) voices have not been made a priority, so not only do we get our younger generations out to vote but we prioritize getting minority voices heard,” Stai said.
Aligning with these goals, the second filled position is officer of diversity and inclusion. Section IV of the cabinet code designates the officer of diversity and inclusion as the lead advocate for ASI when it comes to inclusion and diversity initiatives “to ensure all students feel welcome and diminish obstacles that impact learning outcomes.”
Third year kinesiology and health promotion student, Moriah Easley has stepped up to the role and will be ASI’s primary liaison to the university’s cultural centers and advocate for inclusive practices within ASI and CPP as well as at the state-level and the Cal State Student Association.
“One of my goals with this position is to change campus climate, campus culture and make all students feel safe on campus. Not only black students, but any students who feel like they have been wronged on campus,” she said.
Easley’s experience as a student justice leader for the African American Student Center and her participation in this year’s cross-cultural retreat opened her mind to the needs of the diverse CPP community. Her aim is to facilitate open communication between cultural groups and the campus.
“I really want to make the relationship between the university administrators, faculty and staff better with the students,” Easley said.
The last position filling this week was the officer of transfer engagement. Kassandra Lopez is a third year who transferred from Citrus Community College and is studying biology with a minor in psychology. She enjoys the work that she does as a student administration lead and peer mentor through the Poly Transfer program. She is also able to understand student needs as a resident advisor for the University Village.
“I had a nice, warm welcome when I transferred over to Cal Poly and I want to continue to spread the same resources,” she said.
In this position, Lopez will be ASI’s lead advocate for the university’s transfer students and related outreach efforts. The cabinet code outlines specific duties such as the improvement of educational resources, lobbying for university services that are mindful of transfer students and working with ASI’s Bronco Associated Students Experience (BASE) Program—a 2018 ASI initiative that seeks to provide student government experience to students who do not meet eligibility requirements for other positions.
“Its (one of) my primary goals to really focus on the fact that Cal Poly Pomona has a large transfer population, and to get other transfer (students) to realize how they can become engaged within the resources that Cal Poly Pomona has to offer,” Lopez said.
Prior to last semester’s bylaw changes, both the officer of transfer engagement and the officer of diversity and inclusion worked under the secretary of internal affairs.
However, with the internal affairs position now an officer role as well, ASI Vice President Manshaan Singh, a fourth-year environmental biology student, envisions these three positions will generally “still work together as a team.”
All three new officers are excited to take on their roles and expressed a willingness to engage directly with all of the student body for feedback.
The fall semester’s shift to virtual instruction means many of the yearly events will pose new challenges that the three student leaders are preparing to take on.
With three more cabinet positions approved by the board, only three more remain vacant. The appointments of an officer of internal affairs, an officer of legislative affairs, and the elections chair member will conclude ASI’s summer of appointments as the fall semester approaches.