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Newly Elected ASI President David Zitser shares his plan for next year

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David Zitser, President of ASI

David Zitser, President of ASI

J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

David Zitser, President of ASI

Ricky Rodas, Managing Editor

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The Cal State LA Campus felt empty on a random Wednesday following spring finals week. While many students were likely relaxing at home and making travel plans for the summer, newly elected Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President David Zitser, was working at the University-Student Union (U-SU) alongside other members of ASI.

Zitser will begin his term as president this week and will begin working with his team and newly elected vice presidents on fleshing out their plans over summer break. At age 17, he might just be the youngest ASI president Cal State LA has ever seen, but his maturity is evident. Zitser attended one year of high school before transferring to Cal State LA to study biological chemistry. He’s entering his fourth year at the school.

He addressed the issue of his age relative to the responsibilities of student government, saying, “This is actually my third year with ASI; I started out as an environmental committee member, and then a Natural Social Sciences college (NSS) representative, and now as the president-elect; I’m using that experience [so] like if people ask me, ‘do you have any experience because you’re so young,’ I can say, ‘Yeah, I actually do’, so I balance it out like that.”

He initially began his foray into school politics because of his passion for environmental issues and sustainability, leading him to join ASI’s environmental committee. Friend and former ASI member Hanz Legaspi suggested to Zitser that he become a college representative. As an NSS College Representative, he learned what ASI’s mission statement was and what the organization stood for, which prompted him for his bid to  presidency.

“Because I now know what ASI is about… I decided there are some changes I want to see within ASI, and the direction I want to take it; I could only do [so] by becoming the next president.” One of these  changes is pushing to fill often-vacant positions within ASI.

“Throughout the year we [sometimes] don’t have people applying for vacant positions, and one of ASI’s main things is actually filling those positions… when we can’t get the positions filled it’s bad,” Zitser said. “There are different committees that the university has, and basically what ASI’s job is to represent the students and the way we do it is bringing students on those committees; so when we can’t get students to sit on those committees, those committees basically don’t have any student representation.”

Zitser’s plan to generate student involvement involves the creation of club councils. The first step of this plan is filling out the ASI internal board of directors, which includes the college representatives. “Currently we have the opportunity to get 12 college representatives on the board, we only have four; [we have] two for NSS, one for A&L [College of Arts & Letters], and one for CCOE [Charter College of Education], so the first step is to get qualified people for those [remaining] positions,” Zitser said.

After finding the right people to be college representatives, Zitser will work with each of them to establish a club council for their respective colleges. The purpose of the club council is getting these college representatives to “gather all the clubs within their college into a room, and each club will have two representatives, and they’ll be discussing issues [that] each club has faced individually and whether other clubs can work [together] to fix that issue.”

This model for building student involvement is ambitious in scope, and could produce positive results for the campus body if implemented correctly. While the position of ASI president comes with more than its fair share of obstacles, newly elected Vice President for Administration David Garcia believes that Zitser has the leadership skills necessary to achieve their goals.

“David has a strategic leadership style, since he’s always thinking of how to do the best job and create strategic initiatives to improve workflow,” Garcia said. “In addition, [he exhibits] democratic leadership because he listens to everyone’s opinions and concerns.” Garcia and Zitser previously worked together as NSS college representatives, and Garcia is excited to continue working with him on  a higher level.

“I believe we accomplish important things for students in Cal State LA as representatives of the College of NSS,” Garcia continued. “I’ll be working with David to improve, support, and provide the best initiatives, resources, and programs for the students in Cal State LA. “

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