Chico State’s AS president, Autumn Alaniz-Wiggins, and Director of Academic Affairs, Mia Arisman, attend CSUnity at California State University (CSU) Dominguez Hills with other CSU AS(I) presidents. We asked Autumn a few questions about CSUnity and her experience.

What is CSSA and CSUnity?
CSSA stands for the California State Student Association. It is a student-led organization comprised of representatives from all 23 CSU campuses that advocate for the wellness and education of our CSU students. CSUnity is an annual conference hosted by CSSA to serve as a platform to discuss major issues and network to build relationships across the 23 campuses.

After attending CSUnity, what do you hope to incorporate what you learned to Chico State?
Every single issue that was discussed as CSUnity is something that can be incorporated back at Chico State. The most important one is the Proposed Tuition Increase across the 23 campuses. Providing resources for the students who might face challenges in paying for the increase, around 40% of students, should it come to fruition, is something that I want to work very hard to provide.

What was your favorite workshop that you attended?
I attended workshops on Accessibility for Students and the Black Student Success Workgroup. These were my favorite ones because they are severely under-addressed at many campuses. With the systemwide goal of achieving graduation equity by 2025, I am ecstatic to see some of the initiatives come out of these workshops and workgroups, such as the 10 million dollars over the course of 3 years for Black Student Success projects across the 23 campuses.

How did CSUnity help you grow as a person?
I was able to network with a lot of Legislative Affairs and presidents across the many campuses, building a strong network of information sharing, which is the key to helping our stakeholders back at home. Knowing how other Associated Students operate and the challenges we face helped me piggyback some ideas off of each other to help grow the organization.

What are other schools doing that inspired you?
I could see the identity-specific spaces of CSU Dominguez Hills, and I was particularly fascinated by the AAPI student space, as that was one of the starting points for CSUDH. Learning how they got funding and physical space for their students was super inspiring, and I want to work more with The President's Cabinet to get that started at Chico State.

What are other schools doing that you didn't see fit for Chico?
I am not sure if I saw anything that didn't "fit" for Chico, but I noticed that some ASIs struggle with getting student voter turnout for their student government elections and maintaining a sphere of influence. When I informed them that almost 20% of our students voted, they were very shocked and curious to hear how we were able to get that many students to vote. I didn't realize that Chico State's AS image on campus was so big until I talked to other schools that struggled with having a strong AS presence.

What was the funniest moment at CSUnity?
The funniest moment was when they were giving away prizes and my name won on their screen but they didn't see me so they didn't call my name out until they saw me later and realized I was there. Sooooo my condolence prize is soon to come.

Was there another ASI President or campus representative that stood out to you? Why or why not?
I would say that all the ASI presidents stand out equally; they all have something unique to their initiatives and add a critical point of view to the conversation. I got to know all of them at the Panetta Conference this past June, living together in dorms for a week, so we are all very close now, and I look forward to seeing them every CSSA.

Autumn Alaniz-Wiggins is the AS President and a Sociology and Multicultural Gender Studies major. Her office is located in Bell Memorial Union 221 where she holds various office hours. You can also reach out to her at Head here to learn more about Autumn and other AS elected student officers.