Sarah Storelli plans to put her three years of student government experience to address several issues on campus if she is elected Associated Students Inc. president.
Compared to her opponent, Storelli keeps the tradition of candidates with an ASI background as she joins this year’s campaign.
Sitting in her apartment in Cerro Vista Apartments on campus, the 21-year-old English major who is minoring in law and society, recalled growing up in Fresno and being very close to her family, who all have an interest in law. She added that both her brothers, who have also participated in multiple clubs on their own college campuses, were both very active in school, and have pushed her to get involved in her campus since grammar school.
As she changed into her painting clothes to finish decorating sandwich boards for her campaign, Storelli said Stanford University was her first choice for college; she didn’t even decide to apply to Cal Poly until several days before applications were due. After being accepted, she attended Open House and was sure the campus was the right place for her. She now calls the school her second home.
“When I saw everyone more or less as excited about school spirit as I was, I was sold,” Storelli said.
During her visit, she approached the ASI booth and introduced herself. Then in fall, she joined the ASI executive staff, which is comprised entirely of freshman students who attend ASI meetings and assist the executive cabinet.
“I feel like it’s really exposed me to a lot of facets under the ASI umbrella. It shaped me into a better leader and person. I really believe that everything I learned from ASI could not have been learned in a classroom,” Storelli said.
Since then, Storelli has also been the University Union Advisory Board (UUAB) College of Liberal Arts representative and is now the vice chair.
She is also involved in 14 clubs on campus, her duties ranging from acting treasurer and ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts to member of the Empower Poly Coalition and Cal Poly College Republicans Board of Director Club Liaison.
By joining clubs that represent her interests, Storelli said she was able to take a more active role in addressing issues that she is concerned with and are now reflected in her platform.
“I was always that leadership person in middle school and in high school who joined every club and was involved in student government. You know, that person who is on every page of the yearbook,” Storelli said. “I can’t get enough of serving by being involved in leadership.”
While she said her club experience is something that has developed her leadership skills, Storelli said she plans to withdraw from all of her other leadership roles to make her presidential job her top priority if she is elected.
When asked about her opponent, she said if he were president, he would have a difficult time since he has no prior knowledge of student government and would try to restructure things.
“I think change is always nice, but to some extent. We need to stick to what we’re doing and not change that,” Storelli said.
When asked how her life could change if she lost the election, she took a few moments to answer.
“It would just be weird for me not to be involved,” Storelli said.
Storelli plans to focus on safety, diversity, community relations, legislative affairs and sustainability as part of her platform.
To improve safety, she plans to add more outdoor lighting to help students feel safer on campus.
“Since (campus police) have had a few cases of personal abduction, adding lights is more of a personal safety issue. It can help with bike safety and potential rape or sexual assault cases,” Storelli said.
In her time on campus, she has noticed that there is no stop at Poly Canyon for the Escort Bus that takes students as far as the library and Grand Avenue, she said.
“I think instead of students walking back late at night, this can kind of help prevent any possible occurrences from happening,” Storelli said.
When commuter services coordinator Susan Pains was asked about the extension of the escort van services, she said the driver will stop at Poly Canyon for students who request it. If a stop is to be made, a third van will be needed, and right now they have yet to fit that into the budget, Pains said.
Storelli also proposed installing activity-sensitive lighting on campus, which she feels could lower the campus’ energy consumption.
The sensor lights can reduce Cal Poly’s energy use and by cutting some of the shrubbery on campus, the school can improve the penetration of existing lights, Storelli said.
Sustainability is also on Storelli’s platform. She plans to place compost bins in dining halls, ban styrofoam on campus and place spigots on water fountains for water canteens.
A major issue that Storelli said the campus has yet to address adequately is diversity. She said that if she were president, she hopes to have joint events between clubs who often support similar issues. Together, Storelli said, they could not only raise more money, but also bring more attention to the problem.
“Some joint collaboration and unification on campus would be nice, since so many clubs already do so many things for philanthropic effort, so this will be a time to join on a broad piece effort,” Storelli said.
She said she also plans to add a free speech hour to the weekly University Union hour to give students a chance to address growing issues on campus.
“I really want to break some barriers and let students see other sides of the issue, because I feel like college is one of those times when you’re exposed to different kinds of people and different types of thoughts, so it’s important to hear that broad range of perspective,” Storelli said. “Students should be exposed to what other people believe about issues and then we could capitalize on the issue and really embrace the diversity in our students.”
Storelli said creating a sense of community both on and off campus is very important to her and has become one of the things she has really thought about since joining ASI. In light of the recent noise and unruly gathering ordinances, she said the campus could improve ties with local government or look into alternatives so we may not have to compromise so much on legislation that directly addresses students.
“The first student government members have worked super hard, but I feel that next year I really want to take a step back and really look at whether the city is working with us,” Storelli said.
If elected, she plans to establish a chair student community liaison committee and create sub-committees made up of students in greek life, the multi-cultural club, and other facets of the campus. She also said she hopes to eventually encourage a student to run for city council.
In addition to the liaison committee, Storelli said she plans to create a lobby group for students to use to call attention to the budget deficit. She also said that under the current ASI president, Kelly Griggs’ cabinet she has already created by laws for the group.
“I would like to see it comprised of not only government members, but also non-government members, because they have just as much or more of a broad-based perspective of the knowledge out there,” Storelli said.
When asked what the CSU could be doing to address the budget deficit, Storelli quickly perked up and leaned forward in her chair.
“I feel like the CSU is not trying hard enough and has their own personal agenda where they weren’t really watching to see what they were really doing that would have ramifications on students, and now we are all in this huge hole,” she said.
“The CSU provides the state with thousands of jobs, and now we are only really hurting the state’s economy by not setting us as a top priority,” she said.