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ASCSU reflects, looks to future in State of the Association Address

President+Nick+DeSalvo+talks+about+ASCSUs+ability+to+make+active+changes+at+the+Annual+State+of+the+Association+Address.
Collegian | Cait Mckinzie
Associated Students of Colorado State University President Nick DeSalvo talks about ASCSU’s ability to make active changes at the State of the Association Address Jan. 31. “Individually, we can make ripples, but together, we’re a force that makes waves,” DeSalvo said. “So we have a duty to make those waves as one organization, ASCSU. So keep charging forward, and as always, show the world what it means to be a Ram.”

The Associated Students of Colorado State University hosted their State of the Association event for the first time in the organization’s decadeslong history Jan. 31, beginning what organizers hope is a new tradition for CSU’s student government.

The event, modeled after the State of the Union and the State of the State addresses, provided ASCSU officials an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of the current administration, report on the work of their respective boards and branches and look toward future projects and initiatives. 

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With several prominent members of the CSU community in attendance, including President Amy Parsons, ASCSU members said they believe the event will allow the organization to continue bolstering its presence on campus as well as extend outreach opportunities beyond the university.

Director of Governmental Affairs Michael Stella was the first of the featured speakers, using his time to update attendees on the ongoing mission of the Legislative Strategy Advisory Board, which has been primarily focused on lobbying efforts in the Colorado state Capitol.

In cooperation with Rep. Andrew Boesenecker and Sen. Janice Marchman, the LSAB has succeeded in introducing HB24-1018 to the Colorado General Assembly, which, if passed, will exempt college textbooks from sales and use taxes.

Stella said he hopes the passage of the legislation will help alleviate the financial burden placed on CSU students, especially with proposed tuition increases continuing as a looming threat.

“If you’re ever in doubt about what this organization can accomplish, I encourage you to think deeply about the textbook bill,” Stella said. “If the college textbook sales tax bill passes the state legislature and is signed into law by Governor (Jared) Polis, that might be one of the best investments this organization has ever made.”

ASCSU is hosting its annual Day at the Capitol event Feb. 8, allowing members of the ASCSU and CSU community to publicly voice their support for HB24-1018 during an active legislative session.

Director of Finance Ashton Duffield followed, addressing the senate on the work of the Board for Student Organization Funding, which is responsible for the oversight of over $125,000 in funds generated from student fees.

Duffield detailed the board’s recent partnership with RamRide, reflected on previous campus events funded through BSOF and previewed upcoming programs, including several Black History Month initiatives.

“Our team’s diversity has given us a variety of perspectives and approaches for any given issue, and as a leader, it’s imperative to surround yourself with people who see the world differently than you. Colorado State University serves students from everywhere, and that breadth of representation must be reflected in student government.” –Nick DeSalvo, ASCSU president

Vice President Alex Silverhart was next to address the at-capacity chambers, summarizing the work of the Student Fee Review Board and previewing multiple new initiatives organized in conjunction with the ASCSU Office of Health.

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Silverhart has also campaigned for the supply of pregnancy tests on campus and continues to help organize projects such as the ASCSU blood drive, furthering his commitment to the health of the CSU student body.

“Within this past year, ASCSU has been able to collect 108 units of blood, saving 324 lives; distributed over 3,000 free pregnancy tests; and offered mental health tabling to combat the current depression epidemic our country is facing in a post-COVID era,” Silverhart said.

Silverhart hopes the work of SFRB and the ongoing efforts of the Office of Health will continue improving the college experience for all members of the CSU community.

Chief of Staff Braxton Dietz followed Silverhart, celebrating the current state of the ASCSU executive cabinet and remarking on several new programs sponsored by the executive branch.

“I’ve gotten to experience this team’s unprecedented accomplishments, passion-driven motivations and incredible initiatives,” Dietz said. “These are our future leaders, innovators and change-makers, and I couldn’t be more excited for our tomorrow.”

In addition to several student diversity and inclusion campaigns, Dietz also detailed the continued efforts to expand the scope of ASCSU beyond the CSU sphere, ideally allowing for additional student input in the Fort Collins and Colorado communities.

Chief Justice Alayna Truxal was next on the list of speakers, summarizing the largely confidential work of the ASCSU supreme court and offering her view on the future of ASCSU as a whole. Truxal said she believes the current ASCSU administration is a healthy one, stressing the importance of inter-branch cooperation and communication.

Truxal also mentioned several projects sponsored by members of the judicial branch, including a roommate revival program and diversity initiatives.

Speaker of the Senate Ava Ayala then addressed the crowd, reflecting on the accomplishments of the 53rd senate and pledging her continued commitment to representing the student body.

Ayala primarily highlighted the work of the senate, noting the passage of several pieces of legislation, outreach programs and caucus initiatives, expressing her confidence in the future of the administration moving forward.

Within her role as speaker, Ayala said she believes she provides a refreshing perspective by expressing her commitment to ensuring the organization remains approachable and accessible for all.

“There’s so many people with so many passions in this space, and I appreciate every single one of them,” Ayala said.

As the ultimate speaker, President Nick DeSalvo addressed the senate chambers in a 10-minute speech focused on the future of the association and the importance of participation in the democratic process.

“These walls aren’t going to spell out a blueprint for how to make democracy work,” DeSalvo said. “That responsibility is on us.”

DeSalvo also took time to stress the immense impact ASCSU can and should have on the lives of students as well as reaffirm the administration’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the political process.

“Our team’s diversity has given us a variety of perspectives and approaches for any given issue, and as a leader, it’s imperative to surround yourself with people who see the world differently than you,” DeSalvo said. “Colorado State University serves students from everywhere, and that breadth of representation must be reflected in student government.”

To close the event, DeSalvo spoke directly to ASCSU members, encouraging them to consider the legacy they intend to leave behind.

“Your time in this organization is not about achieving a specific status either within or outside of ASCSU,” DeSalvo said. “It should be about doing good work for students.”

Reach Sam Hutton at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Sam_Hut14.

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