Castaneda Looks to Center Term Around Students


Richard Tzul

Aaron Castaneda, the ASI President for the 2019-2020 term.

Richard Tzul, Staff Reporter

Cal State LA’s student led government, Associate Student Inc. (ASI) is led this academic year by its president, Aaron Castaneda. He said he holds a special bond with the school and is determined to serve his fellow students.

Castaneda’s passions have always been to serve the community, which includes the students of Cal State LA.

The ASI president wants student opinion to be efficiently heard by school administration via communication and accountability.

“The majority of administrators are usually in their office working doing paperwork,” said Castaneda. “They need to be out there with our students and listening to [students’] issues via town halls and open forums. That’s something we’ll be working on this academic term.”

The ASI President outlined his goals including preventing the rise of tuition pricing. He explained a tuition increase can be a burden for students.

“Every time they increase tuition, regardless of the dollar amount, it just adds more of a barrier,” he said. “And actually rate of tuition ties into a lot of the other issues that are going on like food and housing insecurity.”

Castaneda expressed that he hopes to expand the emergency housing program and the food pantry services. He cited a 2018 Cal State University System report, revealing 41.6% of CSU students reported struggling with food insecurity, while 10.9% reported struggling with housing insecurity. He is tackling these issues alongside Rise, Inc., a nonprofit advocate for college affordability.

In addition, Castaneda expanded on community safety and solidarity; emphasizing the protection of DACA students.

“We need to make sure everybody’s protected. Making sure everyone’s rights are represented and making sure at the end of the day all of our community is together strong as one,” he said.

Castaneda’s favorite part of his job has been engaging with his fellow students and listening to their stories. 

“[It] has always been something I love to do and continues to be the case; more so addressing those concerns and assisting [students] throughout the process,” said the ASI President.

Castaneda continues to keep a strong relationship with the schools he attended. On occasion, he volunteers at Bell High School to play in the marching band for alumni events. He has also taken the time to form relationships with high schoolers through mentoring.

Castaneda first stepped foot on Cal State LA when he was just two-years-old. His family is filled with alumni, including his parents.

“Cal State [LA] is home to me. It always has been, it always will be.”


CORRECTION: August 23, 2019 9:35 a.m.:
Grammatical error corrected on first line