Associated Students presidential candidate Rob O’Keefe currently serves as the A.S. vice president of finance. The Lafayette native is majoring in political science with a minor in business marketing. San Diego State wasn’t O’Keefe’s first choice for college but he was convinced during a campus visit with his aunt.
“I loved how SDSU sits on top of a hill overlooking San Diego,” O’Keefe said. “The city and the beach are 15 minutes away and it was the perfect environment for me.” O’Keefe’s interest in student government began after pledging Sigma Phi Epsilon his freshman year.
“We had a lot of fraternity brothers who were already involved in student government. They noticed I was a leader in my class and pushed me to get involved with A.S.,” O’Keefe said.
His A.S. experience began on the External Affairs Board the second semester of his freshman year. He later realized external affairs didn’t suit him and received a transfer to the Finance Board from then-Executive Vice President Jeremy Katz. It was on the Finance Board O’Keefe learned the logistics of how A.S. operates and handles funds. Last year he ran un-opposed for the vice president of finance position.
One of O’Keefe’s main focuses during his presidential campaign is the relationship between A.S. and the student body that isn’t involved on campus.
“I really want to enhance the time students spend on campus,” O’Keefe said at Wednesday’s debate. “This can be done through programming, student government or advocacy to make sure students’ time at SDSU is valuable and their degree is valuable.”
A hot topic at the debate was the voter turnout for the new student union. Only 13.38 percent of students on campus voted on whether the multi-million dollar Aztec Student Union should be constructed or not. O’Keefe said the way to bridge this gap is transparency in A.S. to students and improved communication.
“It comes down to face-to-face interaction between A.S. and students,” O’Keefe said. “It’s important to go out to student groups, connecting with them on a personal level and addressing any issues that may come up with a decision student government makes.” Another initiative O’Keefe plans to focus on is students’ education and competence with the budget and what their tuition and fees are going toward.
“Every student pays a $35 student body fee and a $143 student facility fee,” O’Keefe said. “I think if students had a full understanding of what their fees went toward, there would be greater involvement on campus.”