Harpreet Bath ’15 (business administration) is the 2014-2015 ASI president. He and his vice president have four goals they would like to focus on in the upcoming academic year. After graduation, Bath hopes to work in the operations industry for a few years and then go back to school to earn his MBA. He would like to work for a multi-national organization that believes in being competitive and achieving success while at the same time remaining socially and environmentally conscious, he says.
Why did you decide to run for ASI President?
Ever since I started to understand public service, I have wanted to be in a position to represent people.
Cal State Fullerton and ASI have given me the opportunity to find myself, grow as a leader and become the individual that I am today. Way too often our students miss out on these opportunities, and I wanted to become ASI president to help give back to our students and our campus community. College experiences help individuals grow and as ASI president, I want to make sure that our students are aware of the opportunities they have and that their interests are protected. In their student body president, the CSUF students have someone who has and will always be thinking in their shoes to best represent and support them.
I want to inspire students who think their appearance, their background, the way they look, who they are and what they believe in prohibits or perhaps limits them from getting involved or achieving their dreams. Being a Sikh American and tying a dastaar (turban) on my head has at times left me open to misinterpretations of who I am or what my identity is, and I want students to appreciate their differences and celebrate their unique identities while achieving their dreams. If I can you do it, maybe it will inspire them to do it as well!
Who inspires you?
My younger brother, Harsimran Singh Bath, inspires me to constantly pursue my passions and be cognizant of the people helping me along the way. Even though he is twp years younger than I am, he has always been a mature, kind and extremely supportive individual in my life. His dedication, work ethic, and overall love and kindness for humanity are things that I honor and respect. If it weren’t for my brother, I don’t think I would have been able to achieve everything that I have been able to.
What initiatives do you plan to implement next year?
Vice President Michael Badal’15 (political science) and I plan to focus on four main goals in the coming year:
Communicate. Focus on creating more means for our students to provide feedback on the programs, services, events, etc. offered by ASI. Create better and more accessible means of reaching out to our students beyond the TSU, or highly populated areas, to increase the interaction between our students and ASI. Overall, reach out to as many students as possible in innovative ways to achieve the best response possible.
Involve and Engage. Make information about clubs and organizations more accessible and visible: both online and in person. Focus on highlighting different involvement opportunities within ASI and outside ASI among our individual colleges and in the larger campus community. Have students engaged on campus in senate-wide and ASI-wide committees to make sure that the student voice is represented.
Advocate. Build on ASI’s relationship with elected representatives in the California State Assembly and Senate, who represent our students. Support or oppose legislation that impacts our students via resolutions, sponsoring bills and become more visible in the legislative channels. Be a strong voice for CSUF students at the CSSA meetings, at the local, State, and Federal levels.
Lead. We want ASI student leaders to always “think like a student.” It is important that as we plan and work in our respective roles, we cater to our students, and the best way to accomplish that is by thinking like a student at all times. Our leadership needs to be filled with passion, integrity, transparency and a willingness to constantly improve, receive and give feedback, and always work to improve ASI and the student experience at CSUF.
What political, social and academic issues are you most concerned with?
Political: As a nation, we are way too polarized in our views. The political beliefs of individuals or political parties have become more important to voters and legislators than the actual concerns of the people. We need to start emphasizing the work that is being done on the solutions for day-to-day problems that Americans face and help push our nation forward.
Social: the drastic decrease in interpersonal communication is alarming. I am a fan of social media, smart phone devices and enhanced technology, but it is decreasing the interpersonal dialogues that people are having and influencing the growth and development of an entire generation, unlike anything ever seen before. In addition, the lack of appreciation of differences is also very disturbing. While I believe that we as a society are becoming more accepting and have progressed, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done.
Academic: I see three main issues facing academics: funding, accessibility and quality.
The lack of appropriate funding in the state-funded schools prohibits the opportunities that our students should receive while obtaining their education. Budget cuts in the CSU alone have led to classes and departments being cut, a decrease in the number of faculty and courses being offered which lead to fewer classes and start affecting the quality of our education. With less classes being offered and more students crammed in large auditoriums, the quality of our education is being impacted.
What do you think is the biggest issue concerning our campus?
Deferred maintenance costs. At CSUF we have more than $150 million in deferred maintenance costs which is almost half of the entire operating budget of the university. Due to all the recent budget cuts, our university has been forced to keep deferring maintenance or find short-term, temporary solutions, which are more affordable. As we continue to ask for more funding and look for alternatives, we need to make sure that our university is well prepared to best support the academic and student life goals of our institution.
What do you think the university’s top priority should be during the next 10 years?
To become the premiere institution in the state of California. With an increased focus on continuous development of our academic programs, proper support of our faculty, staff and students and building a strong alumni base, we can most certainly obtain that goal.
What is one message you would like to communicate with the students of Cal State Fullerton?
Make sure you spend your time at CSUF in the best way possible so that when you cross that stage on graduation you can look back and be proud of everything that you experienced, enjoyed, learned and contributed to this institution. Please utilize ASI, me and all our resources available to achieve the amazing experience you always wanted out of college.