ASI gathers in final senate meeting of the semester; menstrual equity update, polling places for next student election


The Associated Students Inc. (ASI) senators gather in their final meeting of the semester at the Resnick Student Union (RSU), Room 207. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

By Manuel Hernandez

On Nov. 30, Associated Students Inc. (ASI) senators gathered in their final meeting of the semester at the Resnick Student Union (RSU), Room 207.

During the meeting, ASI members provided updates regarding menstrual products on campus, announced in-person voting for the next ASI election and mentioned the potential return of the Bulldog Express.

Menstrual product dispensary proposal

It’s been over a year since ASI Sen. Megan Torres recommended a menstrual product proposal to the senate board.

After Torres called out the university for its lack of products on campus, she worked with Fresno State’s Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC) and Facilities Management to implement a menstrual equity program in March. That same month, ASI approved a $6,500 menstrual equity initiative.

“That money went directly to buying menstrual products, so tampons and pads. I believe we bought 25,000 products,” Torres said in an interview with The Collegian.

Associated Students Inc. Sen. Megan Torres updates the senate board on menstrual products and dispensaries on campus. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

Much of those products have been used already from March to throughout this semester, she said.

To create a new initiative beyond the products themselves, Torres proposed an increase in the number of menstrual dispensaries on campus in the senate meeting.

“We have been using baskets to stock products. Dispensers are more of a long-term investment… to have something more secure, nicer-looking and altogether more efficient,” Torres said.

Torres wants to add a total of 120 dispensaries at Fresno State over a 5-year period.

“I think by doing 120, we’re going to increase accessibility and likely have first-floor coverage in pretty much every building. And that would include female, male and non-gendered restrooms,” Torres said in the senate meeting.

She told The Collegian that there are approximately 240 bathrooms, and the reason she wants to have first-floor coverage is that it receives the highest traffic of students and it’s more accessible than the upper levels.

Megan Torres (center) is the Associated Students Inc. senator of operations and resident affairs. She is graduating this semester with a bachelor’s in biology while also receiving a minor in chemistry and psychology. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

SHCC has ordered 10 dispensers through grant funding that were placed in the health center, the Library and the RSU. After that order, another 10 were ordered and placed in Kremen School of Education and Human Development, McLane Hall, Peters Business and the South Gym Building.

Torres also said that five years is enough time to not rush Facilities Management and provide a reasonable amount of dispensaries, which would be 12 per semester with a cost of $200 each.

The total cost of the multi-year proposal is $24,000.

”It’s $24,000 over a 5-year period. We’ve given $24,000 to events that last a week here on campus, so [with] this [proposal] being a necessity, I do think it’s very achievable,” Torres said.

ASI would not need to vote on it, but it does need to be approved by Facilities Management and Vice President Deborah Adishian-Astone, and signed by ASI President Caroline Alvarez.

Torres’ proposal also suggests a committee consisting of Fresno State faculty, staff and students to provide feedback on the dispensaries. She encourages the senate board to look into it by next semester and support it.

“I think it’s useful. It helps get the university on track and it kind of gives them a timeline that they have to stick to,” she said.

Polling places for the 2023 ASI student election

ASI Director James Martinez followed up to plan for the next ASI elections for the spring 2023 cohort. The election is planned to be on March 21-23 before spring break, and Martinez encourages the current cohort to prepare for recruitment or candidate suggestions.

James Martinez (right) is the director for the Associated Students Inc. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

He also announced that polling stations will be placed on campus to increase voter turnout.

“We’re going to look at the high-traffic areas of the university where students go and have at least two or three [stations placed], depending on what our budget allows,” Martinez said.

The polling stations will also be in collaboration with the League of Women Voters, which traditionally counts ASI elections. League members would be a non-partisan party managing the voting locations.

Bulldog Shuttle

Toward the end of the senate meeting, Alvarez updated the senate board on projects she’s been working on. One of those is the potential return of the Bulldog Express, Fresno State’s free campus shuttle for faculty, staff and students.

The shuttle was available Monday through Friday and stopped throughout multiple oncampus stops as far as Valley’s Children Stadium, at that time called Bulldog Stadium, and Campus Pointe.

Alvarez is waiting for a meeting with Adishian-Astone to move forward with the project.