A.S. leaders prep for fall by hiring whole new crew

summer Sundial

Those walking into the Associated Students office in the middle of July may expect to hear the sounds of crickets chirping, as only a small percentage of CSUN students take summer classes every year.

Instead, the office reflects a family gathering, with laughter and familiar faces showing up as constantly as the ringing of the office’s phone.

One of the familiar faces, that of newly elected A.S. vice president Safa Sajadi, greets everyone she sees as she walks to her office to start her day.

“It’s a family environment here,” Sajadi said.

Sajadi, senior political science and religious studies major, and Chad Charton, senior business major, won the A.S. vice-presidency and presidency, respectively, in May.

Charton and Sajadi’s expectations of a busy, hard-working summer were accurate.

“I am having a blast interacting with the few students who are on campus and working with our incoming student leadership as we plan for this next year,” Charton said, who added that the summer months have been characterized for A.S. by planning, projecting and forecasting.

Charton and Sajadi said they have spent the summer recruiting and interviewing students to fill open positions in A.S. The only vacant positions remaining on the A.S. Cabinet are chief of staff and director of legislative affairs.

The A.S. Board of Directors still has several vacancies, with the colleges of Health and Human Development (two senate seats), Science and Mathematics (one senate seat), Education (two senate seats), and Humanities (one seat) in need of representation, among others.

Multiple director positions are also open, including director of disabled students, director of Greek relations, director of high school relations, director of international students and director of environmental affairs, among others.

“The process has been amazing,” Sajadi said. “Many people who have never been a part of A.S. are now applying.”

Charton and Sajadi said they are hopeful that they will fill vacancies by the time fall semester begins August 29.

Vacancies arise at the start of every fiscal year, beginning July 1, when the new A.S. administration comes into office.

Also, a certain amount of internal reshuffling is done that moves A.S. members around from position to position. For example, Mohammad Jahangard resigned as lower division senator two weeks ago to pursue the director of lectures position in Student Productions and Campus Entertainment, the programming arm of A.S.

Charton said he realizes the odds of getting every A.S. position filled by fall are low, but added that he hopes to have a fully functional board for the fall semester.

He also said he sees a positive side in not filling all the open positions so that more students take an interest in becoming involved in A.S. once fall semester begins.

“We do not wish to eliminate students’ opportunities by maintaining a completely full administration coming into the fall semester,” Charton said.

As for current members of A.S., Charton and Sajadi said they are meeting with each individual A.S. student leader in planning sessions to outline the goals and objectives of specific positions during the 2005-06 academic year.

“We are in the midst of planning various training(programs) to further complement these planning sessions to better prepare our student leaders to excel in their respective capacities,” Charton said.

Charton and Sajadi said they are also holding planning sessions with many of the members of the university administration and various directors of A.S. programs, such as the A.S. Ticket Office, Fitness Centre and Children’s Center.

“What we are doing this year that I feel really sets us apart is meeting with everyone, from (the) senate to directors,” Sajadi said. “We identify issues and map out ways to address them.”

A.S. has its annual summer retreat in mid-August. At the retreat, board members will receive additional training and be a part of interactive learning exercises and social opportunities to enhance their leadership skills, Charton said.

Charton and Sajadi said they look forward to more student involvement in A.S. next year.

“I’m hoping to have students excited about CSUN and A.S.,” Sajadi said. “I feel that once you get involved, it opens your perspective to CSUN being a great place for making memories of a lifetime, and not just a Tuesday block of classes.”

Charton and Sajadi said they also have been preparing for the fall semester by focusing a great deal of time changing some internal A.S. operations.

For instance, A.S. has modified some of its financial forms and applications, including budget enhancement forms, which are now more “student friendly,” Charton said.

A.S. has hired a full- time information technology employee to enhance its online outreach efforts. The addition will allow students to submit some finance forms online, as well as move A.S. closer to the possibility of future online student body elections.