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Saturday, November 26, 2022

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Christian Holt Christian Holt

In Uncertain Times, Holt Sees Opportunity

Associated Students President Christian Holt views this period of uncertainty due to the pandemic and racial tension as an opportunity for reflection and action.
By Ryan Schuler

“That’s what this year is about: a year of reflection and action. That’s what students want. They want to be heard, understood and for action to be taken, and we’re ready to do it.”

Christian Holt’s first thought when San Diego State University decided to shift to virtual instruction in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t about himself or his campaign for Associated Students (A.S.) president. 

“My first thought was my fellow students and student organizations on campus — how they would be impacted,” said Holt.

Holt was planning to travel to Tijuana later that week with the student organization Tijuana Homebuild for a home building project, but then international travel was suspended.

“(I knew) things were probably going to change pretty quickly,” said Holt. “But change is okay. It happens. As long as you do what you can with what you have, there’s always a great outcome.”

And Holt continued that optimistic attitude, as he began campaigning virtually before eventually being elected A.S. president for the 2020-21 academic year in late March.

A.S. is an auxiliary unit of the university that creates and promotes social, recreational and educational programming and facilities both on campus and in the community, advocates for student interests, and provides leadership opportunities for students within the shared governance model.

Holt was able to witness A.S.’s efficient and seamless shift to a virtual modality first-hand. He took part in a virtual swear-in with SDSU President Adela de la Torre — an emotional event normally shared with friends and fellow A.S. student leaders. But what Holt saw was resiliency and focus from A.S. and the campus as a whole.

“We are adaptive and dynamic. We (A.S.) continued our council meetings. Our commissions met virtually. We were able to adapt as a campus and student government.”

“Time for reflection”

2020 has provided us with a number of major events and adversity — Kobe Bryant’s death affected many around the world, the pandemic, police brutality, racial tension and social distancing.

But in a time of uncertainty in the world, Holt sees opportunity. 

“What this has given us is the time to reflect on who we are as people, who we want to be as a society and who we want to be as SDSU,” said Holt. “That’s what this year is about: a year of reflection and action. That’s what students want. They want to be heard, understood and for action to be taken, and we’re ready to do it.”

During his term, Holt said his main priority is to connect represented and underrepresented campus communities with different backgrounds together and with A.S. because “students’ voices are very powerful. Students being engaged with Associated Students and our campus are able to shape the campus experience.” 

To accomplish this, Holt says he plans to proactively reach out to campus communities and student organizations to hear from students first-hand about their hopes, concerns and dreams for themselves and the university. Holt noted he and his vice presidents plan to host virtual town halls for students to voice their opinions and have interactions with A.S. leadership. 

“Being Associated Students president, your role is to advocate for students’ interests, ensure students have a quality campus life and students feel a sense of comfort, safety and community. I can’t do that without recognizing the dispositions of our underrepresented communities and specific communities on our campus. If I don’t acknowledge that and work toward helping those communities, then I’m not fulfilling my role.” 

Holt prides himself on being a collaborative leader, listening to differing perspectives in order to better understand a situation. That is how he plans to lead this year.

“Everyone has something to bring to the table, and when you think of the world that way, you want to make the world a better place. You want to be the change.”

Though there is some uncertainty about how next academic year will look, Holt emphasized the importance of continuing quality student life and important A.S. programming during the pandemic, including Aztecs Rock Hunger and the A.S. Food Pantry. Holt serves as co-chair of the Co-Curricular and Student Life Tiger Team, which is working on ways to provide students with opportunities to interact with each other virtually and in-person as county guidelines deem possible.  

“Associated Students as a whole and our commission Aztec Student Union Board have been working on planning out virtual programs that will keep students engaged and we are working on our re-entry plans for our facilities once we are allowed to do so,” said Holt. “We are going to make sure there is a great student life so students have opportunities to connect with each other and enjoy their college experience. Programming must go on. It will be different but they’ll keep going.”

Holt remains positive, optimistic and focused on the year ahead, “one for the books,” as he says.

“I’m very excited for the role and upcoming year and the impact A.S. will have on the campus community,” said Holt. “Even though we are in a pandemic, I think this is going to be a great year. There are going to be a lot of positives that come out of this year.”