Associated Students Vice President of University Affairs candidate Michael Kumura

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Associated Students Vice President of University Affairs candidate Michael Kumura

Kelly Smiley, Photo Editor

Kelly Smiley, Photo Editor

Kelly Smiley, Photo Editor

by Adriana Millar, Assistant News Editor

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Name: Michael Kumura

Position: Vice President of University Affairs

Year: Junior

Major: Business Administration

1. Why did you decide to run for A.S VP of University Affairs?

I decided to run really because I’ve had a lot of diverse experiences during my time here at SDSU. So I actually started and run my own small business, I’m a leadership minor advisor, and then I’m also the vice chair of the University Affairs Board. So I think all those different experiences that I’ve had are able to help me tackle a lot of issues that our students are facing, especially when it deals with academics or anything that has to do with our univesity issues. So (I’m) kind of bringing in this diverse perspective. I’m really kind of focusing on hitting the issues that our students are really struggling and are facing with, and actually[bringing] practical solutions to them.

2. What kind of issues do you think students are facing today at SDSU?

One of the issues that I’ve been hearing about, and I personally I face it and I know probably you face it, is in the library. There’s not enough seating for the school population, an appropriate amount. They did a recent census and roughly, don’t quote me on this, but approximately 8 percent of the entire student population. If we filled every seat in the library, we could only fit that many students.

And also we need to work with university administrators to ensure that we have to update that part of campus where students use it all the time to fit the digital age. We use our laptops, we use our tablets, we’re more online than anytime before and we have to adjust to these times. Another issue that I see is food pricing. You can’t really study when you’re really hungry. The food prices on campus are outrageous. If we as SDSU, if we proclaim that we provide affordability, let’s act on it and make sure that our administrators know that these are things that bother our students.

(Also), safety. Safety is something, and it’s like how does that have to do with university affairs? It has to do with university affairs because when you’re studying at the library and it gets dark in the surrounding college area, if you’re worried more about what time the sun goes down or how fast you need to walk home, I mean, that’s something that shouldn’t be bothering students. Yes, we do have escort services, but it’s not enough because they don’t escort you all the way into the college area. So it is really about ensuring that safety is one thing you don’t have to worry about when you really have to focus on your own academics.

Another thing too, especially for commuter students, is parking prices. Parking prices have been going up and up and up, and we need to talk with our administrators. Yes, the parking and availability and because of construction and maintenance and all these factors, but we do have to make sure that it’s not rising, because again costs are rising for all students and we’ve got to make sure that we’re fighting for students always.

3. What are the first three things you would do on the job if elected for this position?

The first three things that I would do on the job is I would like to sit down with the new executive team and map out (and) plan out what we’re going to accomplish during our terms. I’ve spoke(n) with past leaders, and they said realistically you can only really accomplish one or two things. If you really want to set your legacy and do things, you can’t just promise things that you can’t really accomplish. So really identifying what is very accomplishable, very real things that we can work with administrators with, making sure that it’s a win-win situation for all sides.

The second thing is to have a forum for all the different student organization leaders to come in and really promote a town hall and give them the floor and say, ‘what are the issues you’re facing? How can we help you?’ I know we do have town halls, but really promoting that, especially to people who are very involved on campus.

So we’ll have a forum for that, and then also again promoting more civic engagement throughout SDSU.

The third thing I’d like to do also is, I’d like to promote a barbecue, in the Student Union. I’d love to have an opportunity for students to sit down, meet someone from another organization, and make a new friend. It’s for everyone on campus, so you’re able to be like, ‘hey, you can meet somebody new.’ Because that’s what I’ve learned, networking is so important. You never know if that one person you met from an event or from a class, you could be business partners one day.

3.Why do you think you can understand SDSU students more than other candidates?

So I can understand SDSU students more than other candidates because I’m not just involved in one community or another. I’m involved in whether it’s the Greek community, whether it’s in the API community, you know just being a student — I know what these struggles are like and being a part of these different social bubbles, I get to see the different struggles that everyone has and everyone faces. We actually have a lot more commonality, we struggle with the same things, and bringing these different communities together.

4. What would you change in A.S.?

What I really want to change in A.S. is ensuring that when we do have events, that we’re ensuring accountability in the sense of, we’re not just being busy for the sake of being busy. More ensuring that, while we do offer programming and resources that we do take into consideration or review the part of the programs that do have low-turnout, and making sure that we’re not just throwing things just to be busy or just to have them, but rather saving those events and saving those resources for something that’s going to be used by a lot more students.

For example some of the Aztec Nights, where there’s just really low-turnouts, where not that many people go really. So we want to make sure that if we do offer programming and resources and use student funding to do that that it’s used in a really fiscally responsible manner. It’s basically doing things that students really want and need.That’s what I would like to change.

5. If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?

Basically, I would be kind of proud of the journey and the growth that the executive team and I really were able to accomplish, and were able to see that the university’s going to start renovating the library, that they’re going to make it like collapsible — you know like bookshelves are collapsible (so) there’s more study spaces. But kind of like going into there and being ready to give off the legacy off to the next guy.

Also an issue that I see and really would like to bring would be shared governance. And for example, sophomore success. Sophomore success is a policy done by administration where sophomores are going to have to live on campus. And part of living on campus is it’s a lot more expensive than if you were to go off campus. And ensuring in the future that student voices and students are sitting at the table when decisions are being made. That’s like the first and foremost thing. I’m about always making sure Aztecs, students come first, always, period. That always used to be like kind of a non-negotiable but again ensuring that we’re not being overstepped, ever.

That would be one of my reasons (for running), tackling sophomore success and ensuring that when different initiatives do arise that they are getting student input, that they are asking students what their opinion is rather than just putting it out there and saying we’re just doing this.

Do you think A.S. is not doing that enough right now?

I believe that we are, we have to take a more proactive stance towards that and say, our voices need to be heard. We can’t just not — it’s something that needs to be addressed.

 

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