The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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A day in the life of an A.S. Senator

Over a month into the semester, Amanda Perry is on campus Monday through Thursday from morning until night. She was elected lower division senator, has been appointed chair of academic affairs, is the senate representative for the A.S. Finance Committee, sits on the Instructionally Related Activities Advisory Board and is a student representative on the Academic Grievances and Grade Appeals Board.

A sliver of her tanned stomach reveals a sun-tan branded heart that advertises her job at a tanning salon. She’s young, bubbly and friendly, however, first impressions and stereotypes are inaccurate.

Perry is five foot one, petite and brunette. She said she’s never studied much and doesn’t care about straight A’s, but does what she needs to pass her classes. She figured being involved in A.S. would look good on her resume.

Her thoughts have changed, and she has developed a passion for her various projects. She skipped a grade in school, making her the youngest in her class, graduating high school just after turning 17.

She is a former high-school cheerleader, a one-time second runner up in Miss. Teen Burbank and a former sorority member, who disaffiliated herself from Alpha Xi Delta in 2006. But Perry is also described as passionate, professional, fair and compassionate for her lower division constituents.

“(Perry is) very passionate,” said Jim Palmer, a finance committee member and a member of A.S. last year, “One of the senators that feels compassion for her constitutes and wants the best for everyone.”

Monday through Thursday students can find Perry in and out of the office. She has scheduled office hours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, when she sits in the Senator chambers preparing agendas, doing homework or talking to students who have questions for a senator. She has a meeting everyday she is on campus and classes back to back from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. which are the long days for Perry.

On those long days, she wakes up at 6:15 a.m. to give ample time for battling the parking lots and getting to class on time. When her last class ends at 1:50 p.m., she heads over to the USU for the A.S. Senate meeting on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. that can last until 5 p.m. There is general follow-up and cleanup after the meeting that keeps Perry lingering on campus until later that evening or just long enough for her to go straight to her job at the tanning salon she works at weekday evenings until midnight. Her schedule is the same on Thursdays when she chairs the academic affairs committee at 2 p.m.

“I grab food and shove it in my face as I am running to the next meeting,” Perry said.

Perry, 19, joined Associated Students on a fluke. Her roommate of two years and close friend, Josh Hansen, asked if she wanted to run on the “Students First” slate he was running as vice president on. Perry agreed, thinking she would have to attend a meeting once or twice a week and figured it would give her an edge on her resume for the competitive business field.

“I expected her to do a good job,” said Hansen, the current A.S. vice president, “but she has exceeded my expectations by doing so much.”

Perry, a self-described conservative, said she’s just always been dedicated and works hard at what she commits herself to.

“You’re actually doing something and changing the way things are done,” Perry said of her role. She said she wished more people knew A.S. existed and what they did.

Perry said she had to work hard to be appointed chair of academic affairs and to represent the senate at the finance committee and prove she wanted it.

Student organizations attend the finance committee meetings on Mondays at 2 p.m. requesting funds for various events that were not accounted for in the organizations annual budget request.

“I encourage people to attend the finance meetings. I want people to know how the process is done,” she said. “It is never personal. Just facts and numbers, not emotions.”

Once requests go through the finance committee and the committee makes recommendations for funding, the Senate must approve the funds. Perry’s role is to communicate the reason for the decision made by the finance committee to the Senate.

“It gets personal in the Senate,” she said. With so many different cultural groups and so many Senators involved in fraternities and sororities people “tend to lean toward things that you relate to.”

Perry said even though she is no longer in a sorority she still abstains from discussion on Greek related issues and the sorority girls in A.S. know when to abstain from discussion and voting. She said it can be hard for cultural groups to know when it’s appropriate to vote or not, but it can be a conflict of interest.

“We have to stay neutral and fair,” she said. “It’s not my money to give away. We don’t want to under fund, but it is still money.”

Perry said anger and yelling will not change the votes for more funding for the clubs and student organizations. She said the Muslim Student Association did a very good job with their funding request because they were thankful, organized, weren’t asking for full funding and came with statistics of the number of students involved and effected in the event.

Perry’s latest project is working with the academic affairs committee to create a uniform academic advising system for CSUN. A mission that was a “legislative referral” from A.S. President Adam Haverstock after the objective was never completed last year.

Perry, a junior business major, has only seen her advisor once since she started attending CSUN three years ago, and she said she wouldn’t even know how to find her advisor. She said she knows a lot of students have been given incorrect information by advisors and that each college handles advisement differently, which is hard on students who change their major.

The uniform advisement requirements will be presented to the Faculty Senate in November. Once approved by the Senate, the University will have to approve it and then it is left to the discretion of the colleges to enforce the change.

Perry hopes to work on registration issues once the advisement has been completed. Her term will end in May 2008, and hopes to be appointed as the Director of Finance. She works very closely with current Director of Finance Dave Knecht.

Knecht doesn’t have a vote in Senate meetings, so Perry tries to be his voice and vote in the Senate to make sure the Finance Committee is heard.

Currently, the Senate is seeking to change the funding process that may potentially give more power to the Senate or take power away from the finance committee. Perry said she feels the Senate is losing respect for the finance committee as they continuously change the funding allocations recommended.

“I am a senator first,” she said, “but involved in finance and don’t want to take the power.”

“(Perry) does a fine job. (She does it) more vigorously and accurately than I’ve seen in that position in several years,” said A.S. General Manager David Crandall.

Perry said she is happy Hansen and Haverstock recruited her for their slate.

“I have a lot of faith in Adam and Josh as individuals and together,” she said of the current reigning duo, “They are very fair and efficient. They are living up to their campaign and working on doing everything they said.”

In addition to the numerous committees Perry sits on, senators must work at least ten hours a week in the A.S. office. She also works on the weekends for a private charter jet company in addition to the tanning salon and is a member of a new club called Push that raises funds for children with disabilities. Perry said she enjoys going to inter-murals and tries to attend CSUN sports events and campus activities to show support.

“You can either sit in office hours and be bored,” Perry said, “or get involved and engage with people.”

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