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LTTE: The mistaken arrogance of ASCSU

Collegian | Trin Bonner

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. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval.

Every Transfort bus boasts a sticker that reads “Funded by ASCSU.” The Associated Students of Colorado State University, our beloved student government, want you to know that they’re the generous benefactors providing a range of services to Colorado State students like Campus Recreation, the Lory Student Center and RamEvents. They’re so dedicated to it that their Who We Fund webpage proudly claims responsibility for allocating a budget of $57 million to various services.


Of course, this isn’t a tale of altruism; ASCSU’s peculiar choice of words, boldly claiming ownership over $57 million, shadows their purported benevolence. Don’t forget the inconvenient truth: that $57 million is student fees. You’re the one footing the bill for what ASCSU so selflessly funds. They allocate the funds, but it’s you — the student, the crucial player in this entire game — who’s bankrolling them. 

ASCSU is puffing itself up to the brink of arrogance to coax students into acknowledging it. Still, ASCSU fails to connect with students. Their purpose is as clear as mud, and their mobilization efforts struggle to rouse more than 15% of students to spend two minutes casting a vote. And who can blame students for not knowing ASCSU’s purpose when ASCSU itself seems to forget it? Instead of representing students, they seem obsessed with merely appearing important. ASCSU staff parade their perks on social media, projecting authority while most hardly know what they actually do.

Their Wednesday senate sessions are a masterclass in gridlock, stretching for hours while representatives vie to bicker over nothing. To many, representatives embody the dramatic high school theater-kid stereotype. But here, the stage is an excruciating Wednesday meeting, the cast is a troupe of out-of-touch representatives and the performance is them tossing around $57 million like pocket change. And yet, somehow, they paint themselves as the almighty philanthropist behind campus operations. 

Here’s a thought for ASCSU: You’re an essential apparatus for representing student interests. Replacing substantive community outreach with performative arrogance distracts from that importance. Slapping a “Funded by ASCSU” sticker on everything as if the fees magically materialized disrespects students. Instead, consider these outreach techniques:

  • Engage with student organizations to identify their needs. I picked 30 random clubs using RamLink and asked if ASCSU had ever contacted them. Only one said yes. Assign dedicated liaisons to clubs to connect constituents with the institution funding them.
  • On election day, request that professors allocate five minutes of class to allow students to vote, removing the burden of time management from students.
  • Come election season, ASCSU representatives love talking to students on The Plaza. But once the election dust settles, they retreat to their office and hibernate until the next campaign. Engaging with representatives isn’t easy unless you’re free on Wednesday nights. To make contacting representatives easy, create an office hours equivalent for ASCSU representatives.
  • Involve student organizations in decision-making processes. If you’re discussing sports club funding that Wednesday, bring sports club participants to share insights. If you’re creating a new sustainability initiative, contact a sustainability club on campus waiting for ASCSU to harness its collective expertise.
  • Data should drive decisions. Enlist data enthusiasts to determine what constituents want through Plaza polling. It’s impossible to represent students unless you understand their needs, and the only way to understand is by asking. Student opinions must shape changes.

ASCSU’s operations hinge on the approval of students. It’s time to make a real effort to represent the students they serve. Can they claim to be the “student voice on campus when most students don’t know what they are? ASCSU must bridge that gap and become the representation students need. 

Also, ditch the “Funded by ASCSU” stickers. It’s a bad look.

Annie Weiler

Contributor for CSU Life and Special Editions magazines

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About the Contributor
Trin Bonner
Trin Bonner, Illustration Director
Trin Bonner is the illustration director for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration director, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

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