As a new page unfolds in the history of CSU East Bay and a new crop of students step foot onto campus to begin their academic careers, a notable student emerges as the representative and president of his fellow classmates, once again hoping to make a difference in the lives of the people he represents.
Jerry Chang, a charismatic and unquestionably bright 33-year old Graduate student majoring in both Engineering Management and Statistics is this year’s newly elected President and CEO of Associated Students Inc. (ASI), hoping to impact students’ experiences on campus as well as enable them to be their own catalysts in using their time at CSUEB to secure the best future possible.
Evidently different from many of the past ASI Presidents, Chang is matured and experienced, using his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in Material Science Engineering, travels across the world and professional background in business to provide students with tools to be career minded and participants in the outcome of their education.
Drinking a venti-sized Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino and dapperly dressed, Chang looks and acts like a politician with an edge. Well rehearsed and well spoken, yet a long-winded and loquacious communicator, Chang is hyper aware of his position and its influence, though his edge comes out in his humility, constantly referring to his work as the effects of ASI rather than individually.
Chang started with ASI as a committee member in the fall of 2011, working in various areas such as Environmental Affairs, Legislative Affairs and Internal Affairs, recalling that process as “amazing,” looking for an opportunity to become involved on campus and have a voice in CSUEB’s democratic process.
In January, Chang decided to run for a board position, originally thinking of Director of the College of science. Yet, when the board realized they didn’t have someone running as president, Chang’s natural leadership came through and he decided to run for the prestigious position.
Contrary to past presidents, Chang’s goals for his term are less specific physical objectives but rather a system of five “metrics” or values that are dependent upon and connected to each other and so only with a complete development of the system would the principle of the metrics be fulfilled.
The guiding principles are defined by: career readiness, social impact, continuity, inclusive culture and collaborative partnerships.
“ASI has the membership of every single student on campus, so we want to make sure our policy, our decisions are inclusive and that we are not marginalizing anyone,” he said.
For Chang, the collaboration between students, faculty and departments will enhance each metric with the goal of building community support and enriching each student’s education and experience.
Referring to his time with the CSUEB Chapter of Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) where he worked with members to improve networking, highlight diversity and improve campus-wide collaboration, Chang reiterates the lessons he learned with the club and hopes to work with his ASI board of directors to create the same opportunities for students.
Chang is passionate about his term, saying he sees an opportunity to enact change and “start steering things in the right direction,” but believes this will only be possible through a genuine and effective collaboration amongst students.
“Having a large impact is not just reaching out to everybody, it could mean reaching out to a select few in a large way in a way that allows them to then give back and pass that on,” said Chang. “That pay it forward idea. Social impact is about building a connected society and community.”
“The story of the Cal State Students, that’s ultimately what is going to be able to reach out to the greater community around us. A lot of what we are trying to do like community service is to engage the greater community in Hayward. You know, there is a disconnect between Hayward and (CSU) East Bay, and we’re trying to bridge that gap.”
In the end, Chang says he understands the difficult time students are facing at CSUEB in one of the most difficult times for education in the state. As such, he hopes students will understand his position is to serve them and assist them in the most effective way possible.
He wishes to communicate to students not only his metrics, but like them, he is a student and hopes they can learn to collabarate with him and faculty and “see that common purpose that we are all here for and can achieve it together, can we make a difference?”
“That’s an interesting story. I don’t know. We’re trying.”
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 5:31 pm.