ASI presidential candidates Carrillo and Natafji debate for upcoming election


Blake Wolf/The Collegian

Associated Students, Inc. presidential candidates Sami Natafji and Karen Carrillo speak at debate on March 16 in the Resnick Student Union.

By Jazmin Alvarado, Reporter

For the upcoming 2023-24 academic year, two candidates are running for Associated Students Inc. (ASI) president: Karen Carrillo and Sami Natafji.

The Collegian moderated the ASI presidential debate in the Resnick Student Union on Thursday, March 16.

The Collegian moderators were Valentina Saldaña, the sports editor, and Diego Vargas, the managing editor. They asked a series of questions to the candidates. Each candidate then had one minute and 30 seconds to answer every question.

Carrillo and Natafji shared their core values and beliefs.

Karen Carrillo responds to questions from moderators and students at the ASI presidential debate. (Blake Wolf/The Collegian)

“All throughout my campaign, I’ve been presenting three core values because I really think it wraps up what I believe in: transparency, accessibility and representation,” Carrillo said.

Each candidate also provided an argument as to why he or she should be elected and provided ways in which they were going to make a change at Fresno State.

“I want to revive Fresno State, and I want to make college a more fun experience. I want to create new opportunities for students, and I want to ensure that every student voice is heard,” Natafji said.

Carrillo said she hopes to resonate with students and connect with them on a deeper level. Natafji said he wants to promote inclusion and make sure every student feels a part of the “Bulldog family.”

One of Carrillo’s proposed plans is to create a mass calendar so that events on campus don’t overlap and receive equal participation.

“One of my biggest goals is to hopefully create a mass calendar where we can see when all events and organizations are hosting events,” Carrillo said.

Sami Natafji responds to moderators’ and students’ questions at the ASI presidential debate on March 16 in the RSU. (Blake Wolf/The Collegian)

Natafji plans to create a resource board where students can walk by on a daily basis and be aware of the resources that they have available.

“I think it boils down to one thing, and that is that students don’t know about the resources they have on campus. If we have a resource board, students can walk by and say, ‘You know what, maybe I can apply to that or join this organization,’” Natafji said.

Caroline Alvarez, the current ASI president, attended the debate and said that no matter who wins, she hopes the new president will help ASI grow.

“Regardless of the winner, I hope that ASI continues to sustain programs that we currently have. Both candidates mentioned what ASI is currently doing and their projects and organizations on campus that we have. At the end of the day, I just want ASI to be open to all students and to ensure their voices are heard,” Alvarez said during an interview with The Collegian.

Voting for the election will begin on Tuesday, March 21, at 9 a.m. and will end on Thursday, March 23, at noon. Polling locations will be available in the library on March 21 and 22.

Link to the video of the debate.