Committed to change

When I started Portland State University in 2002, I thought I knew what I wanted from my college education. I was a pre-med student determined to complete my undergrad degree in four years and attend medical school. I was stopped in the PSU Park Blocks during the first week of my second term at PSU, and I filled out an interest card with an organization called the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU). I was contacted within a few days and received information about the great issues ASPSU was working on. I became an intern that term for ASPSU and began working on state legislative issues. I have since held a variety of positions at ASPSU, and was elected student body president last spring.

ASPSU is the state recognized voice of students at Portland State University and runs non-partisan campaigns that benefit the student experience at PSU. ASPSU has won many victories and made many changes to make PSU a better university. Examples of these victories are stopping a 2 percent tax on our student fee, helping black btudies become a major, and creating a professor evaluation web site. Student government is an organization where all students can contribute and collaborate on issues that are vital to everyone on campus and the community. 

During the past few years, ASPSU has been criticized for being a non-representative or exclusive organization. Some of the criticism of ASPSU stems from the perception that the organization tends to cave into the PSU administration and that ASPSU is an exclusive organization that only represents portions of the student body. Past administrations of ASPSU have failed to work successfully with other student organizations. At times ASPSU has lacked outreach to students both to educate the student body on student issues and to develop new leaders with the skills to create real change for PSU.

This year, the ASPSU administration is mindful of these shortcomings and is committed to changing the student government. We are committed to becoming an inclusive organization that represents the needs of students. We hope to do this by welcoming and working with the diverse student body at Portland State.

This year student government is taking a slightly different approach to winning victories and advocating for students. We are creating great relationships with student groups and running effective grassroots campaigns to maximize student benefits. ASPSU has an amazing staff dedicated to creating change and fostering leadership development in PSU students. We also have the most involved and passionate student senate in years.

This administration will make progressivism an institutional component of ASPSU. The general goals of ASPSU are representation, transparency, student voice, accessibility, diversity, outreach and sustainability. We will increase student representation through shared governance with the PSU administration. We will become a more transparent organization by making all ASPSU documents publicly accessible online as well as utilizing a new online reporting system for ASPSU officers. Our student voice will be made stronger by improving the Residence Life Program for University Housing and by winning student campaigns on the state and federal level. We will work on expanding accessibility of services to every type of student by making the university’s library open 24 hours a day. We will promote diversity on this campus by beginning a campaign to create a cultural studies department. We will be reaching out to students with our internship program for academic credits, as well as collaborating and co-sponsoring events with student groups on campus. And we will be promoting sustainable transportation options by lowering the price of bus passes for PSU students. 

This administration ran on a platform to achieve these goals, but we cannot win these campaigns without the help and support of students at PSU. It wasn’t until I became involved with ASPSU that I realized what I want to do with my life, and it’s because I took the chance to get involved and work on real issues to effect change, I now know that I want to work in advocacy and nonprofit organizing.

Getting involved with ASPSU helped me find the direction I want to take in my career. There are so many great ways to work on campaigns that help make real changes in students’ lives. Please take the chance to contact ASPSU, stop by our office in room 117 in the Smith Memorial Student Union or check out our web site at