Equity by Anoop Kaur

ਲਗਨ ਕਾਮਯਾਬੀ ਦਾ ਬੂਹਾ ਖੜਕਾਉਂਦੀ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਕਾਮਯਾਬੀ ਜ਼ਿੰਦਗੀ  ਦਾ ਮਕਸਦ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ ll
– ਜਸਵੰਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੰਵਲ
“Devotion knocks on the door of success and success fulfills the purpose of life.”
– Jaswant Singh Kanwal

 FULL CIRCLE MOMENT 💫
Equity in Higher Education
By Anoop Kaur (she/her)

What’s up, Spartans! As we slowly ease back into a new “normal,” Associated Students and I would like to welcome you back to the Spartan Voice blog, a new initiative started by our Director of Communications, Gerard William Pablo. This blog’s purpose is to communicate and clarify our organization’s values and for you, the readers, to get to know us better. I am excited to showcase more of our Spartan voices, but first, let me share my journey…

As someone with the privilege of pursuing higher education, I wanted to run for President to become the representation I sought out when I first came to San José State University. As a Woman of Color, I did not see myself in this position of leadership as A.S. President. But life, my ਕਿਸ਼ਮਤ (kismat) has led me here. My hope, at the end of my term this May, is to help more women and People of Color to feel inspired, seen and empowered to become movers and shakers in our communities.

Associated Students (A.S.) has changed my perspective on higher education, opened my eyes to new experiences, and helped me understand how I can better seek transformative change: from shifting virtually in pursuing our degrees, working during a pandemic, running a student-led non-profit organization, to learning behind-the-scenes work that powers higher education. A clear example of this is the advocacy work done by the 2019-2020 A.S. Board of Directors to fight for the credit/no credit option and seeking maximum flexibility and understanding of students’ circumstances during the pandemic which re-established my faith in leadership through compassion.

By finding myself in a position of leadership, I am able to help make visible the issues that some find invisible. I invite you all to think about the ways in which you could increase awareness about your community issues. In my position, I have been able to put a spotlight on issues that others would have perhaps ignored.

I am always impassioned by the focus on equity that I see from all of our A.S. departments. Staff and student assistants from our organization have the wellbeing of our students in the front of their minds. A.S. provides services that impact the daily lives of students, some of whom are the first in their families to attend college, low-income students, student-parents, commuter students and many more. Every student can be supported and/or impacted by services provided by Associated Students.

Thanks to past and current community-wide advocacy, we were able to foster many existing centers as well as the soon-to-be launched Student Success Centers for the Asian Pacific Islander Desi/American and Native American/Indigenous communities. These spaces on campus give me hope that SJSU is moving in the right direction and will continue to work towards creating a holistic and positive college experience for each and every student.

Being in the CSU system, equity is at the core of everything we do. A.S. in particular highlights a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds. Everyone deserves a chance to own their college experience and gain access to opportunities. Through conversations with my classmates and friends, I have seen firsthand how job opportunities and child care services through A.S. supports financial burdens and develops vital career skills. We offer scholarships and book vouchers to support student needs as well. In collaboration with 2020-2021 Director of Sustainability, Jocelyn Jones-Trammell, we created the A.S. Pursuit of Black Excellence Scholarship. As an organization we also continue to fund Recognized Student Organizations who can apply for $2,700 annually to finance their programming, initiatives and events. Our mission, plainly stated, is to advocate to build a better, safer, and more inclusive community to unite us all. As President & CEO, it is my honor to carry out this mission and represent the needs of all 36,000 SJSU Spartans.

I commend your resilience and commitment to being a Spartan despite the many challenges we have all faced. We are here to support and uplift you in your college journey. I encourage you all to take advantage of the resources available to you: get involved, take positions of leadership where possible, and build connections.

Starting as a student-at-large four years ago to now being President, I can vouch for the value of getting involved by taking advantage of research, student organizations, centers on campus, mentorship opportunities, and through A.S programs, events and services. I wish you all a meaningful college journey as fulfilling and memorable as mine!

A little business info for you: Associated Students (A.S.) is a 501(c)3 non-profit auxiliary organization whose vision is to strengthen the Spartan community through access to opportunities that inspire educational growth, personal development and innovation. While maintaining a voice for SJSU students through student government, A.S. also provides other unique services and activities to enhance student life and the broader community. With a $9 million budget, we advocate and maintain the student voice through the A.S. Board of Directors and operate nine departments, including seven student-facing departments: the César E. Chávez Community Action Center, Child Development Center, Events, General Services Center, Print & Technology Center, Student Government, and Transportation Solutions. All of our departments provide essential and distinct services to our campus. Visit sjsu.edu/as for more information. To connect with the A.S. Board of Directors and student government, visit sjsu.edu/as/boardhours.

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