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President Salazar’s State of the A.S.

Last week, ASI President Jose Salazar delivered his second State of the Associated Students address to the A.S. Senate. The bylaws of the Associated Students require that each student body president deliver a report to the student body on the state of the Associated Students, Inc. near the beginning of each semester of the normal academic year. President Salazar highlighted his accomplishments as president and outlined some of his major goals for the remainder of the spring semester. See below for a full transcript of the speech he delivered in the Dr. Stuart L. Farber Senate Chambers:

Let me start by thanking Vice President Hernandez and the Senate for their invitation to speak here today. I am honored by the opportunity to stand here and deliver my second State of the Associated Students address directly to the Senate.

I ran for this office with no illusions; if I won, I knew it was going to be a tough year – and a tough year it has been. But that does not mean that we, as a team, have not worked to get a lot done. I made four commitments to the student body last year. I said that I would build a more environmentally sustainable campus; improve on the statewide advocacy efforts from past ASI administrations; support the strong programs put on by our ASI programming teams; and serve the needs of each and every student by not only being a transparent organization, but equally as important, being a visible and easily accessible organization. I am happy to report than on all fronts, these commitments have been met.

First, on our work to build a more sustainable campus, I am proud to report that the university will be installing solar panels in Lot 14 this summer, and power generated from this source will energize close to 15 percent of the campus - drastically reducing the university’s electric bill and saving important university dollars.

Additionally, this year we began working with the City of Long Beach to create a bike share program on the CSULB campus. Last year, Long Beach received a grant to establish 50 bike share stations all over the city. Members of the program, student or resident, will be able to grab a bike at any station, ride to a desired destination and return it back to any station in the city. My long-term hope is to negotiate for two stations on campus, helping to create a biking culture at CSULB and slowly reducing our overall greenhouse gas emissions. That, my friends, is how progress looks.

Moving on to ASI programming, our teams have been doing an excellent job keeping us all engaged and entertained this year. Since my last State of the A.S., the Programming Board and USU Program Council have hosted a combined total of more than 50 events.

In particular, the ASI Programming Board, led by Sabrina Ware, has given us many reasons to be proud 49ers. From organizing Week of Welcome, to representing CSULB at the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, Long Beach Marathon, and Homecoming, the members of our programming board are truly masters of event planning. And as I am sure you are all aware, we still have the A.S. Big Event taking place this coming May. While the artist is still to be announced, I guarantee that it will be a performance that you do not want to miss!

I also want to thank the ASI Programming Board for planning the executive town halls that have been taking place each month. We started these events with the idea of transparency and accessibility in mind, and this opportunity to speak with the students directly has spurred some great conversations on campus.

Furthermore, staying on the topic of giving a voice to the greater student body, I am also pleased to report that the Board of Control has passed a recommendation on the executive compensation policy and the senate should able to review, debate and vote on it shortly.

In the meantime, I am doing all that I can to make sure that scholarship funds are available for all underrepresented students. Just two weeks ago I ran the L.A. Marathon and raised several hundred dollars for low-income students - and as a personal plug, the donation page is still operational and I encourage you all to pitch in what you can!

Moving to the statewide level, Governor Brown recently released his proposed 2016/17 budget, which included an additional $140 million in ongoing funding and $35 million in one-time funding for deferred maintenance. While any state investment for the CSU will benefit students, your ASI will be joining with the California State Student Association to once again advocate for a fully funded budget by lobbying legislators during the California Higher Education Student Summit in Sacramento. I am excited to see what we can accomplish next month working as one.

And finally, I would like follow-up on an initiative I will be continuing to push for this semester: nap pods. The average college student only sleeps six hours per night, as opposed to the recommended eight. This hurts students in a number of ways – such as overall health, bodily functions, and decreased mental capacity. I am in the process of submitting a proposal to the USU Board of Trustees to consider two nap pods on campus. The proposal will be considered by the USUBOT and if approved, students will have a safe place to nap on campus every day.

In conclusion, we have been able to see commitments fulfilled and goals achieved – not because of me, but because of us, working together.

In the words of President Barack Obama, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

It is our responsibility to get involved, stay involved, recruit others and solve problems together. So let’s keep up the momentum, be united and pursue great change together!

Thank you for your time, and Go BEACH!