Political science junior Gracie Babatola is Cal Poly’s ASI president for the 2022 to 2023 school year. The ASI president works with and for the student body. Mustang News reporters Eden Rose Baker, Trevor Baumgardner and Jada Griffith sat down with Babatola in this interview.
Q: When running for president, what were your goals for the position?
A: So my goal was really to reconnect students back with student government. Coming in my freshman year, I noticed that their sort of to be this disconnect.
Q: What are your goals for the winter and spring quarters?
A: For winter spring, I want to focus more on policy, and more on basic needs. So as maybe you are aware from a recent study that was conducted by student affairs 39% of Cal Poly students experience food insecurity. And that is a drastic change from recent years. And as Cal Poly begins to diversify, socio economically and racially, we can’t ignore that this will not be a rising issue. And so, within Student Government, I’m working on tailoring our programming to address to address that need.
Q: Mustang News published an article highlighting how Cal Poly is the only predominantly white CSU and admits few black students, could you talk about this?
A: Well, I think the article encapsulates what a lot of us have known about SLO and Cal Poly. And I do think there is more to the story, in the sense that I wish there had been a portion that highlighted the amazing work that is being done, and that not all of the administration is sort of just out to not let Black students in and I wouldn’t even say administration is out to do that. But rather, there are people like Dr. Denise Isom, there’s people like Dr. Jamie Patton. And there’s people like parents of Strategic Enrollment who have made it their mission at SLO to make this place, a community for all students, and just also the vast network that the alumni have created for us. And so I think, yeah, it’s an issue but we also want to focus on the positives and it’s not just on negative at Cal Poly.
Q: Why can you only send one email to the student body per quarter?
A: I don’t know. I think it could be more. But I think the communication team is very thorough. So they plan out what they’re going to send a few months ahead of time, so they only can really give me that power certain times. But I’ve tried to be very aware of that and use it when I think something needs to be said, like, for example, when working with working with Dr. Humphrey with the with the statement about Iran, because I think we both noticed that this is just something that neither one of us can just sit idly by without saying anything. And I’m hoping to use that power for good and in hopes that in coming years administration will allow the ASI president and Student Government to have more outreach and more channels of communication with the student body.”
Q: How has implementing the p-card system been going?
A: “So we have started a committee with that, that holds students and also people with business and finance, and other administrators, as well as looking into the risks and how to make that possible, as well as collecting data from across the CSU system and seeing if, perhaps, is already another school that does something similar. And if we could just mirror what they have going on right now.”
In the spring of 2022 they ran for the position with the slogan, rebuilding connections. She says that her goals for the school year have not changed, but how the plan fits into the year has changed. Going into winter and spring quarter Babatola wants to continue in her role with a focus on student needs.