Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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New ASI president sets agenda for year ahead at Fresno State

ASI President Abigail Hudson discusses ASI plans for the Fall semester during an interview on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.

Four years ago as a college freshman Abigail Hudson made it a goal to become president of Associated Students, Inc. at Fresno State.

At first, she was like most freshmen — hesitant and overwhelmed by the large campus.

During her freshman year, the deadline to run for the president’s position came, but Hudson passed up the opportunity. ­

Still, Hudson stayed close with ASI members and learned the daily operations of student government.

As a junior, Hudson served as the executive vice president of ASI. In May, the 21-year-old senior was elected as president of ASI.

“It’s really exciting, but it’s a little nerve-racking,” Hudson said, as she prepares for the new school year.

Students have already come to Hudson with concerns about a possible new parking structure, which could lead to increased fees for students.

“ASI has agreed to do some research to see what students are willing to pay for parking permits, in order to build a parking structure on campus,” Hudson said.

Additionally, ASI will conduct surveys to find the ideal place for a new parking structure.

“There’s only so many places they could put it but out of the spots they can put it, what would be the ideal place to put it?” Hudson asked.

The survey also will ask students if they have other preferences, instead of a parking structure.

“It’s to see what students’ priorities are — whether it’s a parking structure or student union, more green space or turf fields, or whatever it may be,” Hudson said. “It depends on where students want their money to go.”

Debbie Adishian-Astone, interim vice president of administration, has discussed the parking issue with the faculty union, in an effort to allow students to park in faculty parking lots after 5 p.m., Hudson added.

The issue of campus safety has also been discussed as the new school year begins.

Hudson said the goal is to improve safety by improving lighting on campus and by reminding students to be aware of their surroundings.

She adds that the university has set up a task force to improve mental health treatment for students.

This way, the university can try to stop suicidal thoughts or other tragic shootings that have occurred around the country, Hudson said.

As she tackles these issues and more, Hudson hopes to be taken seriously by the administration.

“It’s really hard to tell people with a Ph.D. that me, as a senior in college, knows something different,” Hudson said.

But Hudson feels closer to students because she talks to students every day and is one herself.

“Sometimes that’s hard to digest for people who have a Ph.D.,” Hudson said. “I’m 21 years old, and they’re much older than me — much more educated than I am. And so I’m explaining to them that this is actually what the students think, and it should be what the students want.”

In order to give more students a voice, ASI recently approved a new job position entitled the student advocate.

Hudson said the student advocate will be given an office, and students can come with concerns about various issues including conflicts with instructors, problems in the dorms including issues with roommates or sexual harassment.

“If (students) feel more comfortable coming to them about harassment or sexual misconduct, the student advocate can help guide them through the university process,” Hudson said. “Sometimes it’s difficult for students to go to the health center and be like, ‘I was sexually assaulted.’ It’s a little easier to have a peer who can guide them through the process.”

If students bring reports of sexual misconduct or sexual assault, the student advocate can only share that information with the university but not with other ASI members, Hudson said.

Although she has come a long way since her freshman days, Hudson has not forgotten what it felt like when she first arrived at Fresno State.

Now she hopes to make a difference for students who may be in the same position.

“There’s so many opportunities on this campus to get involved, whether it’s clubs, ASI or community service,” Hudson said. “Our office is the one-stop shop for showing you how to get involved.”

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