Riyadh al-Riyashi ’17 (finance and accounting) and Veronica Kdeiss ’18 (finance) were elected as the representatives for Mihaylo College on the Cal State Fullerton ASI Board of Directors. They will serve throughout the 2016-2017 academic year.
From funding extracurricular events, including concerts and guest speakers, to overseeing recreational facilities such as the Student Recreation Center, Cal State Fullerton’s Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors play an important role in determining the student experience at Orange County’s largest public university.
In student elections last month, Mihaylo voters voted Riyadh al-Riyashi ’17 (finance and accounting) and Veronica Kdeiss ’18 (finance) as the college’s two representatives to the board, which is made up of two members from each of the university’s eight colleges. Al-Riyashi and Kdeiss share their experience, issues of concern and how students can take ownership in their college.
Riyadh al-Riyashi: From Yemen to Cal State Fullerton
“Success to me is measured by how many people I have served and impacted in a positive way,” says the finance and accounting junior. “Helping others brings joy to my heart and is the reason I decided to get involved on campus.”
Al-Riyashi hopes his tenure on the board of directors will translate into a better college experience for his fellow students. “Being on the board is an opportunity and a privilege to voice students concerns,” he says. “I am confident that together, we can exceed students’ expectations at the college and the university as a whole.”
Originally from Yemen, a nation of about 24 million people in the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula, al-Riyashi came to California in 2011. He earned an associate degree in social and behavioral sciences from Northern California’s Sierra College before transferring to Cal State Fullerton in January 2015 to complete his undergraduate studies.
“I chose CSUF because of its strong business program,” he says. “I became an orientation leader my first year and now serve as a student coordinator for University Outreach and New Student & Parent Programs. I am also on the ASI Finance Committee.”
Among the issues al-Riyashi advocated in his campaign are beautifying the campus while maintaining water conservation, holding more events on-campus rather than in the broader community and providing physical and digital forums for anonymous student suggestions.
Al-Riyashi’s favorite quote is from Peter A. Cohen: “There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.”
Veronica Kdeiss: Getting Involved is Easy and Rewarding
“Student government is all about making change by the students, for the students,” says the finance sophomore. “All students deserve accurate and honest information as well as fair and efficient allocation of funds. I will do anything I can to benefit the most Mihaylo and Cal State Fullerton students as possible.”
Kdeiss recognizes that a majority of students do not participate on campus because they are balancing work, studies and commutes. Yet she reminds students that involvement is easy and rewarding. “Getting involved in student government is as simple as looking past your textbooks and attending an event,” she says. “On the ASI website, you can find information about the different committees we have within ASI and how every student, no matter their schedule, can get involved.”
Beginning her studies at Mihaylo in fall 2014, Kdeiss decided to learn more about her campus. “I made the decision to be involved in student government after realizing that my first semester of school merely consisted of attending classes then immediately going home,” she says. “I did not attend any events, and I barely knew my way around campus; I could only tell you how to get from the parking structure to the business college.”
Her involvement began as the strategic communications coordinator for ASI’s Lobby Corps Committee, which advocates on behalf of students on statewide issues impacting the Cal State system. In this role, she promoted ASI events and campaigns. “Being a part of Lobby Corps provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the university on both an internal and external level,” she says. She also has interned for state Sen. Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) at his district office in Brea.
“My main goal this year is to make myself available to all students,” she says. “I am not representing myself or my own ideas; I am representing the students of the college.”
Want to share concerns or ideas with al-Riyashi and Kdeiss? Board meetings, which are open to all students, are held every Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. at the William G. Pollak Legislative Chambers in the Titan Student Union. The representatives will also be available at the weekly Business Inter-Club Council (BICC) meetings Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at SGMH-1505.