Vassar: To connect with students, ASCSU needs a better online presence

Ethan Vassar

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. 

Ad

It’s no big secret that ASCSU has been failing to meet students needs. For an organization that claims to ‘advocate for CSU students on campus and at the local, state, and national levels of government,” this is a big issue. 

After my thrashing of the Associated Students of Colorado State University, I was able to sit down and talk to presidential candidate Tristan Syron, affectionately known as water-bottle-bill-guy, and his running mate, current Senate Recruitment and Retention Officer Kevin Sullivan. I also met with Josh Williams, a senator for the Multi-Faith and Belief Council.

Both acknowledged that there is substantial room for improvement. 

ASCSU has done an “inconsistent job trying to get students engaged,” Williams said.

“How can we get better?” was Sullivan’s question to not only me but to the entire student body. 

Most of these problems stem from an internal focus and lack of the proper communication channels with students, so the answer can be found in improving ASCSU’s online presence. The ASCSU website offers little blurbs and lists email for most of its positions in the executive, legislative, and judicial branch, but the social media accounts for those holding positions are absent. Some have phone numbers listed, but in a world where social media platforms are the premier forms of communication, it would be nice to have links to at least the Twitter of those in power.

This would both hold them accountable, and make it easier for students to contact them with questions, concerns, and, most importantly, memes. If the purpose of ASCSU is to help students get a taste of government, then they should also get a taste of what being a political figure on social media is like. 

Most of these problems stem from an internal focus and lack of the proper communication channels with students, so the answer can be found in improving ASCSU’s online presence.

It’s exceedingly hard for students to find out exactly who is representing them, and what is being done for them. None of the links under “Executive Departments” work, leading to a page literally saying “well, this is awkward.” Not only is it awkward, but flagrantly unprofessional to not have working links for the academic, campus engagement, environmental affairs, diversity and inclusion, finance, graduate affairs, health, innovation and technology, marketing, state and local policy, traditions and programs, and university affairs aspects of ASCSU. 

While under “Contact Us” on ASCSU’s website, a phone number, email, and office hours are listed. There are links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr elsewhere. Why ASCSU has a Flickr still when Instagram is the premier photo sharing app, is beyond me. ASCSU has an Instagram account, and it should be linked instead, or in addition to Flickr. These links are a step in the right direction, as most students use social media platforms to get their news and share their opinions, but the accounts on these websites need better curation. 

The ASCSU Twitter account has not tweeted anything since November 16th of 2017. For a little bit of perspective, that was the day ASCSU impeached the former student body president Josh Silva, so there have been no updates or information regarding the process given to students from ASCSU since then. Based on this it would be reasonable to assume that many students still believe Josh Silva to be their president.

Ad

The Code of Ethics requires an honest effort from all individuals, and its pretty safe to say those with login credentials to the ASCSU Twitter have not been putting forth an honest effort. Since they are violating the Code of Ethics, the only logical response would be to take 12 weeks to remove them from their positions. If these people are not removed from ASCSU, it would stand to reason that ASCSU is not putting in any effort to change their practices and will continue to ignore the student body.

Oddly, all of the information regarding his impeachment can only be found through The Collegian. All of Silva’s presence has been stricken off the ASCSU website, with nothing about the impeachment or change in leadership to be found. Things like this make it seem as though ASCSU is operating with as little transparency as possible. Whether it is intentional or not, obstructing information from students certainly violates their Code of Ethics. The code outlines public service being a part of public trust, and not trusting students with information regarding their “voice” violates this. 

Syron said having multiple people running the Twitter account could remedy some of these issues. Multiple people with login credentials mean there should always be someone who is free to tweet out news or respond to questions. It’s simple changes to social media like these that can make students more aware and engaged, leading to better representation and more decisions that benefit student needs. 

A lack of information to be found on social media highlights another problem for the organization: Most students get news and information regarding ASCSU from The Collegian. Besides marching into the ASCSU office and demanding to know what’s going on, there really is no other way for students to understand what exactly goes on in room 206 of the Lory Student Center. 

Although this is not the first time ASCSU and The Collegian would collaborate on something, it should hopefully start a trend of the two working together. At the end of the day, although it may be shown in varying ways, both organizations have the students best interest in mind. Each is volunteering time to somehow elevate the student experience here at CSU and it’s about time we tried to do it together. 

“The media’s job is to hold people accountable,” Syron said.

Well, we’ve done our part. It’s time for ASCSU to do theirs. 

Ethan Vassar can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on twitter @ethan_vassar.