It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it
BY: ERIKA JOHNSON & SASHA MILENA
Self-proclaimed weird guys John and Jon are not your typical Associated Students, Inc. student body president and vice president. John and Jon was the catchy slogan they used when they ran for office last Spring, but the title stuck even after they were elected. Now, they are notoriously known across campus as John and Jon. As we walk into the ASI President’s conference room, we are greeted by the rather slick John Haberstroh and the outgoing and quirky Jonathon Bolin. Dig magazine dug in to see if the duo has fulfilled their campaign promises since being elected.
Bolin says that they decided to run for ASI a week before applications were due. “Our whole campaign started as a joke and then once it got started, we were in it to win,” Bolin says.
“We both quit our jobs to campaign,” Bolin says. “We made it so there was no going back.”
When the two began their campaign back in March they based their platform on three main ideas.
The first was to take a 30 percent pay cut that would generate more than $13,000 to form student scholarships that would be awarded monthly. The second idea was a parking ticket refund program and lastly, they proposed weekly townhall meetings where students could tell them what they want from ASI.
During the campaign last Spring, many people mentioned that they thought the pay cut idea was just a stunt to get elected. However, John and Jon took the cut and have implemented a scholarship program with the funds.
Haberstroh and Bolin have taken 30 percent of their salary and have put it towards student scholarships totalling $7,210. The amount was less than originally proposed because they had based their campaign around outdated salary figures.
The initial plan was to give scholarships away monthly, but that plan was revised and they are now giving away the scholarships on a quarterly basis.
“We did four quarters because we thought we could give more money to more people,” Bolin says.
John and Jon have four new scholarships this year. The Beach Pride award is comprised of three $500 scholarships, which are awarded to students who have extreme school pride.
The textbook scholarship was John and Jon’s first project together. Advertisements were posted across campus and on social media sites on the first day of the semester.
“We got over 200 applicants for a $200 textbook scholarship,” Bolin says. “The fact that $200 affected these people’s lives so much was so great.”
The new club sports scholarship is exclusively for the 34 club teams at CSULB. Each team has to write an essay about how money shortfalls have affected them and how more money would improve their team.
“Student scholarships are very important, but at the same time, we have club sports on campus that nobody knows about,” Bolin says.
The CSULB roller hockey team won the Division I championship in 2011. “Some of them are really amazing and they don’t get any funding,” Haberstroh says.
The Academic Excellence scholarship is for those who go above and beyond in their academic studies. Three awards will be presented to one graduate student and two undergraduate students for submitting an excellent end of the year project.
John and Jon have made an effort to be more visible and increase direct communication with students on campus.
They have done so by holding town hall meetings in The Nugget twice a month. The meetings provide an opportunity for students to talk about issues with John and Jon on a more personal level. The two make it a point to grab a cold beer at the beginning of each meeting.
Although they have fulfilled most of their campaign promises, others didn’t fare quite as well.
The parking ticket refund program was put on the back burner. Bolin says they were working with the director of parking services. However, as of recently, the director no longer works for the university.
THE BIG ISSUES
Haberstroh says students are concerned about funding for classes, and he also says this is one of the most pressing issues at CSULB.
“They [students] are saying my classes just got cut again or my tuition is going up,” Haberstroh says.
Haberstroh blames the California legislature for these budget problems.
“They [The California legislature] are establishing the budget every year, and for the past couple of years they have thought it was okay to cut our budget and think that we could still provide the same quality and access,” Haberstroh says. “We’ve been cut about 50 percent over the last four years.”
However, Bolin says that students have a stake in this problem as well.
“It is the legislature but it is students knowledge about issues,” Bolin says. “John and I go to Sacramento and lobby congress men and women.”
John and Jon are part of the California State Student Association, a group of officially recognized representatives of the 23 CSU campuses, they represent the 440,000 students who attend state colleges across California.
John and Jon wanted to increase the student votership and help students understand their impact on the election. They say this was especially important since education was on the chopping block.
Bolin says “the student vote actually passed Prop 30.” He also says, for the first time in 12 years, fees will not increase.
“Prop 30 passed and that was our biggest accomplishment,” Haberstroh says.
JOHN & JON EXPOSED
John and Jon claim to be CSULB’s first non-business and non-greek ASI leaders.
“We’re totally yin and yang,” Haberstroh said. “We can both be serious and we can both be wacky, but I think we balance each other incredibly well.”
Haberstroh and Bolin met last year while studying abroad in Turkey. The two have been friends ever since.
“Jonathan and I want to prove to people that you don’t have to be a stuffy, suit-wearing...” Haberstroh caught himself mid-sentence and Bolin laughed hysterically.
Haberstroh looked down and realized he was wearing a suit and tie, just as he described. “I was waiting for you to say that,” Bolin says.
“You don’t have to be a prim and proper person to be cool and to do cool stuff,” Haberstroh corrects himself. “We want to break the mold.”
For better or for worse, they are not afraid to be different. John and Jon have come a long way since the beginning of the campaign. The two have an undeniable chemistry and don’t look like they’re stopping anytime soon
“I wear my wackiness on my sleeve. I’m weird and proud,” Bolin says. “There is nothing wrong with being weird and wacky as long as you get the job done.”
But don’t be fooled by their laid back attitude.
“Whether or not someone takes us seriously, that’s their subjective opinion.” Haberstroh says.
John and Jon are serious about knowing their audience, representing the student population and are prepared to stand behind what they say and do.
“Our hearts are just in it,” Haberstroh says. “We’re here because we think we can do a good job. We will let the history books decide that.”