Opening Up the CAL Council
My name is Christopher Baker, and I have the utmost privilege of serving as the president of the College of Arts and Letters Student Council (CAL Council) this 2022-2023 academic year. I am, truly, glad you are here.
This academic year has been a big one for “opening up” within the college and the CAL Council. I say this with a twofold meaning. Not only is SDSU coming back into its first non-COVID impacted year, but I have taken steps to broaden, or “open up” the CAL Council goals and activities.
The organization itself is based on the academic advocacy and advancement of CAL organizations and students, and this is still a major goal of the CAL Council, but I believe that even after an SDSU student leaves their last class or club meeting for the day, they are still a member of the SDSU community.
We have brought in CAL’s career counselor, job opportunities around campus, and even co-hosted an Implicit Bias Training through SDSU’s Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE). As a council, we agreed to extend our meeting time by 30 minutes and provide a platform for the CIE to come and train not only members of the council, but anyone from CAL who wanted to join, on how they can spot implicit biases and work to remove them from everyday society.
This was a major success for us. Speaking personally, I left the room with good knowledge that I could use in a classroom, but also in a restaurant, or on my walk home, or even at my own home. I am very grateful for, and proud of, my officers, as well, for always coming into meetings having a general idea of how the meeting will be structured, but no solid idea of where it will go. That, to me, is the beauty of having such a platform as the CAL Council.
We can begin a seemingly mundane discussion about some academic policy going into effect, but the conversation can turn into a very important one about identity, or equity, and so on. We never know exactly what will hit home for our members, so we always try to listen twice as much as we talk.
Weekly, after some recurring administrative items, we have what is called a “Keeping it 100.” This is the icebreaker for our meetings, and it can range in questions from “What Halloween candy would you be?” to a challenge for our members to reach out to someone they care about just to let them know how much they care. We used that one today, as a matter of fact, and I sent my mom a quick text letting her know how much I love and appreciate her.
As I write this piece and reflect on the amazing semester CAL has had thus far, I am filled with joy and excitement about the exciting things we will venture into next semester. Thank you very much for reading and for your time and commitment to CAL, and Go Aztecs!
President, CAL Council; Vice President, Pre-Law Society
MAJOR: Political Science / Third-year