Olsen, Chase: Focus on strong foundation

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

After serving as senators in the Student’s Association (SA) for the past year, SA presidential candidate Kristin Olsen and vice presidential candidate Stephanie Chase hope to use their experiences as senators to achieve their goals.

Olsen first felt the urge to run for president after taking a leadership position while all other executive members were out of the office at a Board of Regents meeting.

“Things started to kind of fall apart in the office,” Olsen said. “Things that needed to be taken care of were not taken care of and they needed to be taken care of before everyone else got back, so I stepped up and took that leadership role and organized the events that needed to be organized.”

After taking charge, Olsen realized that she wanted to run for president of SA.

“I decided at that time that I really enjoyed being in that position and decided that I wanted to run for president. That was pretty much the deciding day that I was like, ‘Yes, this is something I definitely want to do.’ “

Already a senior, Olsen was set to graduate, but she is going to be adding two more minors to her credentials and will be a student at SDSU until May of 2006.

Having been involved in many activities during her four years at SDSU, Olsen believes her experience will be beneficial in making sure items on her platform will get done, especially when it comes to expanding wireless Internet.

“Expanding the wireless Internet is something that I’ve been working on for the past two years as a senator and I really think that maybe the third time’s a charm,” Olsen said. “I really feel that this year it’s achievable. I really feel that we could get the campus definitely expanded in wireless, if not blanketed.”

Chase concurs with the idea that the administration would allow an expansion of wireless Internet.

“The administration seems a lot more behind the deal now. Kristin has been working with them and building up their support so they’re a lot more open to it now than they would have been a few years ago,” Chase said.

Due to working at the computer support desk, Olsen says, “I also have a lot of connections with that part of the staff, which a lot of students don’t.”

“I don’t think it would be as difficult for our slate as others,” Olsen says of wireless Internet, “but expanding wireless Internet means that we have to convince the administration that it’s something that’s necessary. That’s not something that the SA can just decide to do and do it. We can’t fund it.”

Unlike their fellow candidates, Olsen and Chase’s platform mainly focuses on internal restructuring of the SA.

“It really seems like first year senators don’t get working on their own goals because they’re really just trying to get a feel for what senate is about,” Chase said. “We’d really like to have a good retreat-type activity.”

The retreat would last overnight and would include teaching senators everything from how to write a resolution and what a budget looks like to what a typical SA meeting will include and basic parliamentary procedures.

Two goals of the retreat would be to allow senators to get to know each other and figure out what their goals are.

“We can get the senators knowing each other right away so that people feel more comfortable speaking in front of each other at meetings and also working with each other on goals,” Olsen said.

Being familiar with each other is just half the battle, Chase says. Changing the procedural operations of senate is also something Olsen and Chase plan on tackling.

“Right now you come into senate and you’re handed a book that says a list of committees and you have to rank which committee you want to be on, even if you don’t know what the committees do,” Chase said. “If senators have a better idea of what they’re supposed to do and how they can go about doing things and how they can accomplish their goals, they are more likely to do them.”

The team of Olsen and Chase are hoping the retreat will help to make senators more committed to their roles in the SA.

“We want to make it so the senators have to come and focus on senate and focus on what they want to do as senators, rather than, ‘Oh, I have another meeting this afternoon,’ ‘I have some homework I have to do,’ or ‘I have to leave,’ because that’s what happens a lot. In order to make a better senate, we want to have a better foundation and we think that a retreat like this will help to build it,” Chase said.

Olsen and Chase also plan to increase the general awareness of what the SA is, so that organizations and their leaders can benefit from SA funding.

“We really, really want to emphasize and make sure that all organizations are aware that the SA is here to serve them and that they should be able to apply for funds from us,” Chase said. “We have funds to give them. A lot of organizations don’t really know what they’re supposed to do unless they’ve been in the budgeting process before.”

After talking with some of her friends who are not a part of SA, Olsen can see that students who aren’t in leadership positions aren’t fully aware what the SA can do.

“They don’t understand that SA is the governing body, that we are the voice of SDSU and that we are able to make some major changes if they bring their problems to us. That’s definitely something we want to emphasize,” Olsen said.

Transitioning into the new Student Union is something Olsen and Chase realize will be a major task.

“The transition to the union is going to be really difficult,” Olsen said. “Things are going to be missed in the plans and that’s something that I’m not going to be surprised by. I’m completely expecting that.”

After their experiences as senators, Olsen and Chase believe they have the know-how and knowledge in order to reach their goals.

“Most of our goals are things that are pretty pragmatic and…we know there’s realistic plans of achieving those things,” Chase said of her and Olsen’s platform items.

While Olsen and Chase plan to continue work on already-existing programs, such as placing a Daktronics message board on the corner of Medary and Eighth Street, the duo is more focused on their own goals.

“Other presidential slates are talking about putting together that listserv. That’s actually already under way. Since it’s already under way, that’s not really so much our goal. We’re just ready to work with it,” Olsen said. “Our goals are ones that we’re actually going to start.”