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LTTE: Student engagement makes ASCSU better

LTTE%3A+Student+engagement+makes+ASCSU+better
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.

To the Colorado State University student body,

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When I last wrote to you, it was my first time writing as director of governmental affairs for the Associated Students of CSU and not as a Collegian columnist.

When I wrote to you all June 9, 2023, I was asking for your help to overturn U+2 — a common call to action from ASCSU, especially in the last few years. 

Our organization — along with our partners throughout Fort Collins — was building serious momentum to petition to put U+2 on the ballot for the 2023 municipal election, which would have allowed voters to determine the final fate of U+2. 

While this initiative eventually failed, I am proud to report today that our efforts to repeal U+2 did not fail. 

On April 15, alongside several of my ASCSU colleagues, I was proud to attend the bill signing ceremony as Gov. Jared Polis signed HB24-1007, effectively banning family-based housing occupancy limits not just in Fort Collins but in all of Colorado.

Achieving one of ASCSU’s most important goals of the last 20 years was monumental and an ode to the administrations that came before us. It is also a testament to the potential that ASCSU holds with another administration under Nick DeSalvo, who will serve as the first two-term student body president in 34 years. 

Admittedly, the average student has little idea what ASCSU does. I believe that is largely because as an organization, we have often failed to produce meaningful results, and in turn, it is hard for the student body to show interest in our work. 

However, I feel that is beginning to change because of the accomplishments of the administration under DeSalvo and Alex Silverhart, and I am confident that DeSavlo and Braxton Dietz will continue this success. 

Evident in many ways, such as the record allocation of funding by the Board for Student Organization Funding, the student body has been thoroughly engaged on campus this year, and alongside my colleague Evan Welch, ASCSU’s deputy director of housing security, we noticed this surge in student engagement, and in many ways, it made our work possible.

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When we hosted our annual Community Roundtable event in the fall, which was attended by 24 elected officials, 110 students showed up to engage with those elected leaders regarding student-centered issues. 

In the spring, when we hosted our annual Day at the Capitol, student attendance nearly doubled from last year, and we received so much interest that we actually had to create a waitlist. 

Day at the Capitol was especially fruitful this year, as students testified on HB24-1018, a bill that originated from the DeSalvo-Silverhart administration and would make college textbooks sold at university bookstores sales tax-exempt.

While the legislation is currently in committee, it is unlikely that it will ever get a hearing. However, if passed, the bill would have saved students across Colorado $2 million a year on the cost of textbooks. HB24-1018 marked the first time in quite a while that ASCSU was engaged enough with the state legislature to introduce legislation and pass it through its first committee.

With an unprecedented 3% tuition increase for in-state students and a 4% increase for out-of-state students expected for next year, we hosted our inaugural Tuition Town Hall, where Vice President for University Operations Brendan Hanlon presented the CSU Fort Collins $1.5 billion budget in order to inform students of the necessity of a tuition increase this year.

This event was hosted at 2 p.m. on a Friday and drew a crowd of 35 students — enough to fill the ASCSU Senate Chambers. This conversation felt like a first in a while for ASCSU, and it has sparked collaboration between ASCSU and CSU’s administration to find ways to work together. 

Now imagine for all these events — whether it was the Community Roundtable with such high attendance; Day at the Capitol where students testified on original ASCSU legislation; or the Tuition Town Hall where CSU’s administration had to explain the need for a tuition increase — if the student body was not engaged. It would have been impossible for us to accomplish what we were able to this year.

When ASCSU presents meaningful opportunities for students to advance student-centered issues, they have proven time and time again this year that they will show up and get the job done.

I applied to be ASCSU’s director of governmental affairs last year because I thought ASCSU could do better and had to do better engaging with all levels of government in Colorado, and as my tenure as director is set to end June 1, I feel confident that because of the support from the student body this past year, I was able to accomplish that.

To any student who questions ASCSU’s ability to achieve significant progress on student-centered issues, I encourage you to find a way to get involved — you might just be surprised by the impact you can have.

Michael Stella

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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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  • M

    MCMay 2, 2024 at 8:25 am

    Very insightful! Thank you for sharing. We will miss you Director Stella!

    Reply