If you have ever attended Big Show, participated in Sports Clubs, stopped by the Sustainability Center, visited the Children’s Center or gone to Camp Matador, then you have supported Associated Students’ programs. AS programs are funded through student fees at the start of every semester. Among these programs is Associated Students Student Leadership. The AS President, Vice-President and Senators are elected by CSUN students every Spring to serve the campus, and help oversee different aspects of student life from academics to campus spirit.
Now that the new school year is beginning, your elected representatives are eager to serve during their term. We asked Shayan Moshtael and Eden Shashoua, the elected President and Vice President, respectively, of Associated Students to explain more about their roles, the important of getting involved and what motivates them to serve in these positions.
1. What exactly is Associated Students and Associated Students Leadership?
Shayan Moshtael: I believe there is no better way to describe what Associated Students is than through its mission statement: “Associated Students is the primary advocate for students at California State University Northridge and provides excellent, meaningful programs and services designed to enhance and create a spirited learning-focused campus environment.” As an auxiliary organization, Associated Students does exactly this, supporting and providing for the students of CSUN through its programs, events, services, and branches. One of these branches is Associated Students Leadership, which effectively operates as the student government for the entire university.
Eden Shashoua: Associated Students is the students’ representative on CSUN’s campus. We are a compilation of several different programs that seek to enhance each student’s campus experience. One of the largest parts of AS is Student Leadership, which has representatives from every college and serves as the voices of our CSUN students. We act on behalf of our student community and push and create the changes they want to see.
SM: I originally joined AS Leadership after I found out about it from some of my colleagues at a campus job. I applied for a myriad of positions, which is how I started as the assistant chair of clubs and organizations. Other people in leadership repeatedly inspired me to take up their position the following year, which is why I repeatedly sought and applied for cabinet positions of greater responsibility. After this past year, I had such a lovely time working in leadership, and It felt so much more meaningful as well with my role as the attorney general, and all the wonderful people I met and memories that I would treasure for a lifetime, that I knew I would want to continue further. The previous year, I had given thought to running for the presidency but never in a serious capacity. After spending a great deal of time with last year’s AS president, Jonathan Hay, who I now consider a dear friend, I decided it was a responsibility that I am both best suited for and have a great deal of passion for, once again being inspired by those around me.
ES: I was not as involved as a student during my freshman and sophomore years at CSUN, and I didn’t feel the need to be because of the pandemic. However, once my junior year started, I realized that I wanted to have a “college experience” and I knew the only way to do that was to push myself out of my comfort zone and get involved. I didn’t know about Associated Students until the end of last year, but a few of my friends were a part of it, and they sparked my interest in student government at a college level. I had several ideas and changes I wanted to see made on our campus, so when Shayan asked me to run as his vice president, I took the opportunity so that I could make the changes myself. Additionally, CSUN has truly been my home away from home these past few years and has given me so much as a student and as an individual. For my senior year, I wanted to give back to the community that has provided me with so many friends, mentors and Matador pride.
SM: After a hiatus of students being unable to get the true collegiate experience due to the pandemic, I believe it is important to revitalize campus life and bring back the spirited student body in full force. This is not just a goal of mine, but of our entire administration, and we will achieve this in a variety of ways, such as hosting events to welcome students back to campus, and even just being a helping hand whenever possible.
I believe it’s also important to carry forward the lessons we’ve learned from the distanced learning education of the past few years, so it is another goal of mine that we take forward the incredibly useful technologies of the past few years with us and ensure they are not forgotten as we return to an in-person education. This includes technology such as Hyflex classrooms, which allow for a classroom to be remotely streamed and broadcast while simultaneously teaching to a live room. Such a technology, even now, can bridge those who desire the traditional classroom experience, and those who have learned to love virtual lectures, making education more accessible overall.
Another goal is to increase diversity in the food and dietary options on campus, as the college experience most definitely extends beyond the classroom. I value my lunch, dinner and breakfast times greatly, and they have been some of my best CSUN memories so far, so to ensure that we have options for all of our students to indulge in quality meals is a top priority for our administration, both in terms of quantity and quality. These are just a few of our goals as we hope to tackle many more things over the course of both semesters.
ES: There are several goals we’d like to accomplish this year, two of which I am most passionate about. First and foremost, as a proud Jewish student on campus, I would love to see more diverse food options that cater to all students, even those with dietary restrictions, such as myself. I’d also like our campus to provide healthier food options for students to promote a healthier lifestyle, especially when we’re constantly studying and balancing so many different parts of our lives.
Furthermore, another goal of ours is to rebuild our campus and Matador spirit after two whole years online. With classes and programs moving in person more permanently, we hope to foster reconnection and community so that our students will feel proud to be CSUN Matadors.
4. What advice do you have for first-time CSUN students?
SM: What you get out of your college experience is what you put into it, and this is a philosophy and sentiment I’ve held throughout my entire career at CSUN, and it has repeatedly been shared and echoed by many that I meet. To elaborate, the efforts you make to be engaged, both in and out of the classroom, will unlock a world of opportunities that you would not conceive of, and all of these efforts, great and small, feed into each other for even more opportunities. These can be anything from a networking opportunity with a professor, or a campus job, a new group of friends you meet by joining a club, or even a dream fully realized. All it takes is the initiative on your behalf to seek out these opportunities, and to take advantage of them.
I can speak from personal experience, and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for this mindset, and the numerous opportunities, occurrences, and actions I’ve taken that have placed me on the collision course with my past, present, and future. I hope that every CSUN student is similarly able to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them by their university.
ES: My best advice for a first-time student is to decide what kind of college experience you want and create that experience for yourself. CSUN is an incredible university that offers countless opportunities for all kinds of students, so take advantage of every opportunity you can. Remember that what you put in is what you receive, so I recommend pushing yourself to get involved both academically and socially, so that you can grow as a person, and enjoy your time as a college student. Your time here is precious, so make the most of it!
SM: Students can get involved in a variety of ways, one of which is by joining a club or organization. If there’s a passion, hobby, talent, or skill that remains untapped and harbors a hidden community, a student can even form the club themselves, and reveal that community, or flesh it out further. There are plenty of campus jobs that can help you feel more connected a
nd engaged with the campus, while simultaneously earning a paycheck and building important professional skills. Lastly, there are always events to participate in that can help you get involved at CSUN just by having a great time. During my first weeks ever at CSUN, I attended an excellent karaoke night and several comedy shows on campus, which have become some very cherished memories and even gave me an opportunity to launch into my own standup career (not so much a singing career).
ES: You can get involved by being curious, exploring your interests, and connecting with the organizations and resources that will amplify your CSUN experience. We have over 300 clubs, so I’d highly recommend going to the “Meet the Clubs” event to find the organizations that you want to join. Your professors are also phenomenal resources and can direct you to additional clubs and orgs, and guide you in your academic and professional journeys.
Additionally, if you’d like to get involved with student leadership or other AS programs, step into our office or come to our tabling events that take place throughout the semesters, and ask us any questions you may have. We’re a pretty awesome group of students and staff and we would love to meet and hear from you as a CSUN student.
SM: Students can look forward to the plethora of events that are coming up this year. This includes Big Show, one of Associated Students Productions’ landmark events, and Commuter Week, the third week of the semester where we will celebrate and commemorate all of our commuter students. These are but a few of the numerous great events in the near-endless cycle of happenings taking place every moment of every day at CSUN.
ES: This school year is going to be full of excitement because it will be our first full year back in person. We are extremely excited to welcome our students back with various events such as Welcome Week, which will include the AS Celebration Fair, Commuter Week, Meet the Clubs, Big Show and Big Politics. During these events, students will be able to meet other students, their student leaders, clubs and organizations, all while having fun!