ASB sticker price increase directly affects student programs, ASO director of finance says

ASO director of finance Alex Ostrega explains the price increase and what effects it will have on students in a Q&A with The Union.

Q: What caused the price increase?

A: Initially the increase was prompted by ASB’s operating budget deficit so ASB is the program that funds journalism, funds athletics, fine arts. They were stuck with the problem of not being able to fund these special fund requests coming from all of these programs, they were operating at a deficit and they needed to basically alleviate that deficit with the help of ASO because ASO is funded by ASB as well. Under that first initial concern we decided to move forward with (the increase) not only because of that but because of our need for basically funding other programs on campus as well. The FloWater machines on campus is an ongoing expense that ASO will be covering, Warrior Pantry is also an ongoing expense, other initiatives that we have planned like at one point it was a solar charger station and other initiatives were all things that the increase are going to be used for.

Q: Are there any extra benefits students would gain from the increase?

A: Besides (things like the solar charging stations) we have many other ideas as well. For instance we’re building a garden right across from the Campus Deli. We’re using all of these funds that we’re getting from ASB to do good for the students.

Q: For those who do not know, where does the money from ASB sticker price increase directly affect?

A: (The money) directly affects the students and their programs. Like I said before, athletics, fine arts, journalism, the Forensics Team, they all receive funding and if they were to come to ASB for special funding requests as in asking for money for projects or trips. For instance, fine arts recently came to ASB about two or three months ago asking for funding to their trip to Carnegie Hall because they’re going to be playing in Carnegie Hall. In order to actually go through with this trip they needed extra funding in order to send however many students to Carnegie Hall. Without this increase that would not be possible, being able to have all of these students go there and experience this once in the life time experience in Carnegie Hall and play that’s something that ASB is going to be able to make happen with this increase as well.

Q: If the increase did not occur what would have happened to the ASB sponsored programs?

A: We would definitely see some budget cuts and this would directly affect the students like athletic students. I know there was an issue before where they were having like lunch meals that weren’t really adequate for them like they were having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for their outings instead of something that could actually help them on their games like a decent meal or whatever. Budget cuts towards fine arts, so they wouldn’t be able to go to Carnegie Hall in the future and other programs wouldn’t be able to come to ASB or maybe in the future ASO, asking for extra money in order to do special trips. It would directly affect students all around campus that are involved in clubs as well because ICC also gets their funding from ASO which gets their funding from ASB. So clubs wouldn’t be able to go on excursions, they wouldn’t be able to ask for funds to hold their events or to market their club as well.

Q: I’d interviewed a couple of students who were not particularly happy with the increase initially before it was passed. What can you say to students who may disagree with the increase?

A: I would have to hear specifically what some of the negative aspects they see the increase would do but I feel like we have to remember that all though this may seem like an individual increase for everybody like $5 might seem a lot for some people who may not be able to afford it, there is still an opt out feature and the overall benefit for everyone on campus is undeniable it creates so many good things for everybody and it directly affects those students who may not be able to afford that increase as well so students who can’t afford the $5 but who may go to the Warrior Food Pantry in order to receive food for themselves and their families that directly affects them. We have more funding to add more protein and food to that Warrior Food Pantry to feed those students who cannot afford certain things so it directly affects everybody both students who are trying to be competitive transfer as well as students who may not receive the same benefits as wealthier students on campus.

Q: When I spoke with ASO Student Trustee and ICC Vice President Kongdy Lam he let me know that ASO would be voting on the (increase) themselves and he alluded to realistically ASO did not have to clue in the students on the increase because it is ASO’s decision in the end. What prompted the need to inform the ICC club members on the increase when ASO didn’t have to.

A: We wanted (the student’s in ICC’s) feedback on this increase and ICC does represent a large part of El Camino as well. We’ve got students from all kinds of walks of life joining all of these different types of clubs like robotics club, astronomy there’s a multitude of majors and different student who go to these clubs and attend the ICC meetings so obviously we wanted to get their opinion and see how they react and see how they feel about this increase and we of course take their votes and their opinions into consideration. Obviously if we had a majority of a negative feedback to this we would not go through with it but seeing as a majority of the students had a positive reaction and wanted this increase to go forward (ASO) decided to go forward with it as well.