New semester, new changes: ASI, Office of Diversity, and Student Affairs share plans for campus engagement


Associated Students Inc. President Caroline Alvarez holds first senate meeting of the spring semester on Jan. 25, 2023. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

By Jayshawn Montalvo, Contributor

On Jan. 25, Associated Students Inc. leaders gathered for its first senate meeting of the spring semester. ASI senators laid out their goals for this spring and welcomed the university’s new diversity officer.

After senators new and returning introduced themselves, the meeting began with guest speaker Rashanda Booker, Fresno State’s first university diversity officer.

“I am here to learn, to listen, to hear, to hear more about what’s going on in the culture, and to be able to make decisions correctively,” Booker said. Booker discussed a plan to gain a perspective on what is currently lacking with the campus environment.

Booker promoted an idea of having a student council group. This group will consist of Fresno State students who will meet directly with the diversity officer and her team, giving them a sense of student input on what is lacking or needs improvement.

Booker told the ASI senators she expects to contribute “diversity, equity and inclusion” to Fresno State. Booker said she’s looking at the big picture for Fresno State and its community as a whole.

“Educating individuals is how you change a culture,” Booker said

There is currently no website or social media accounts for the Diversity Department, but it hopes those will be Launched soon to connect with students better. This will be the department’s first step in gaining campus insight.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is located in Thomas building 115 for any questions or concerns a student might have. 

After Booker left, ASI President Caroline Alvarez talked about the concerns of low enrollment rates at Fresno State. Alvarez’s goal is to have Fresno State students volunteer in schools K-12 to influence their minds on the convenience Fresno State has in store for them.

Alvarez hopes that potential students in the Central Valley think of Fresno State as their first choice for college.

“A lot of our Valley students leave to other CSU’s [California State Universities] or UC’s [Universities of California], but I want them to see Fresno State as their first option, not their fifth option,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez also hopes to improve the campus by an increase of funds to essential resources, like the Fresno State Student Cupboard.

“We have one of the best student pantries in the CSU system, but I don’t want to just stop there,”Alvarez added.

Kent Willis, the vice president of Student Affairs & Enrollment Manager, also introduced himself to ASI.

Willis believes that the problem currently is that students are still situating themselves for in-person learning. Feeling like students belong and are properly welcomed on campus is what Willis strives for this semester.

“We want to make sure that they are aware of the services that are available to them,” Willis said.

As someone new to this role, Willis strives to “enhance the student experience,” by advocating for a safe ride program that may prevent drunk driving.

These rides will be provided by Fresno State for a student who may be out socializing. This way, getting behind the wheel is prevented.

After the meeting, ASI Executive Vice President Karen Carrillo expressed her motivation for this semester.

“I feel that there is a demand and a need of students who could use an extra meal,” Carrillo said.

Since spring of 2022, Carrillo has collected data from a survey about the average need for a student, and it is still in progress. Carrillo wishes to supply resources for students who are in need of it.

“I have nothing promised at the moment. I have to first prove that there is a demand and that there is a necessity in order to provide essential resources that can help remove financial stress to our students at Fresno State,” Carrillo said.
The survey is confidential and designed for Fresno State students. It can be accessed here.