Rock the vote? Students know little to nothing about ASI elections

Hornets to ASI board: Turn up the volume


Casey Rafter

Sarah Budean, a junior with an undeclared major, sits in front of the University Union on Monday, April 4, 2022. Though she said she didn’t know much about the upcoming ASI board elections, Budean offered her thoughts on what an ideal candidate should do to earn more votes.

Casey Rafter and Tyra Green

On cracked asphalt paths leading from Amador Hall to the University Union, few of the passing students notice the hand-painted campaign plywood signage.

With voting opening Wednesday, the 21 candidates on the docket for the upcoming Associated Students Inc. board elections don’t have much time to win the votes of their peers and constituents. 

Sacramento State students don’t seem to be taking notice of the efforts put forth by the enthusiastic campaigners.

Criminal justice major Jared Rose and civil engineering major Joshua Mentukh said they doubt that any official elected to the ASI board of directors will have any influence on their college experience. 

“In my eyes, it doesn’t matter who’s in a student election,” Mentukh said. “It doesn’t affect me personally, so I wouldn’t involve myself.”

Students will be able to vote through the ASI website or in person at the University Union this Wednesday and Thursday, but for some, the enthusiasm to get informed and involved lands on the side of apathy.

Granting that she isn’t well acquainted with the responsibilities or influence that a member of the ASI board might have, junior Sarah Budean, whose major is undeclared, said she still has a good idea of what she might want from a potential candidate. From her perspective, a person well versed in what students want is essential.

“It’s a big campus, so you can’t really know what everybody wants,” Budean said. “I think something that lets people know more about grants, if that’s what they help with — increasing the visibility of that. Make events that people want to join and be more active on campus.”

At a forum hosted in the Orchard Suite at the University Union on Monday, a handful of candidates running for ASI board positions addressed their constituents. 

Robert Gonzalez, running for Vice President of Academic Affairs, said that his platform is structured around implementing ways to keep students informed and involved by promoting ASI board of director meetings.

“One way we can do this is to make them feel comfortable and open our doors as the next board of directors. Coming to our office, joining committees, joining ASI board of director meetings … is the number one way to get involved,” Gonzalez said. 

With on-campus experience that predates the pandemic, psychology major Jackie Elias said she knows ASI is a student-based group at Sac State, but the only time she has heard anything about elections — or anything about ASI at all — was during her first year on campus.

“Put it more out to the public,” Elias said. “I didn’t hear anything about [the ASI Board or elections] the second, third, or fourth year. This time, it’s just because I’m getting all my graduate stuff from them. Promoting it would be the biggest change I would recommend.”

Elias admitted that though she’s been attending Sac State for four years, she has been unaware of many of the grants and scholarships offered through ASI.

“That’s another thing [scholarships] they could step up,” Elias said. “Because I know that there are different resource centers, for example, the Dreamer Resource Center and The Serna Center, that offer a bunch of scholarship options; they have a whole list of them. I didn’t know that ASI had scholarships.”

Lexa Estrella, a political science and international relations major is on the ticket for vice president of University Affairs. She discussed her ideas for more student involvement at the forum.

“Now, being in person, a lot of students don’t know where student centers are, that they can apply for a COVID grant or that they can get free food here on campus,” Estrella said. “Students stress over all of these things because they’re not aware of all these opportunities that are for free and for them.”

Business marketing major Jonathan McCurdy takes a seat between classes in the library quad on Monday, April 4, 2022. McCurdy said that he only heard about ASI-related activity as a transfer student in his first semester at Sac State.
(Casey Rafter)

Jonathan McCurdy, a senior majoring in business marketing, has had the same experience with fleeting connections with the ASI board. 

As a transfer student, he remembers exchanging communications with individuals from ASI who provided information on scholarships, grants and aspects of the campus.

“They were super helpful,” McCurdy said. “I didn’t talk to [ASI] after that. It was just that one moment and a couple of emails.”

According to McCurdy, some of his cohorts have been baffled over the lack of online class offerings for spring 2022. He recalled seeing petitions being championed by students who weren’t ready to return to normal when plans were announced to bring students back on campus. 

He said that if a student-interest board like ASI could act as the voice of the students, they should have taken that opportunity to influence how classes were offered this spring.

“For this semester specifically, they went [with almost] no online classes,” he said. “I’ve been talking about it in my business classes and they’ve been saying, ‘I really wish this was online.’”

Though his impressions of ASI are generally positive, McCurdy said he has no plans to participate in this week’s vote.

“I haven’t done my research so I’m going to have to pass on this one,” he said. “I feel like when I leave, it won’t affect me. I want those who it’s gonna affect to be heard.”