CSU, Chico

Ashley Holten-Westhaver, Animal Science

Ashley Holten-Westhaver, Animal Science

Everyone knows when the Associated Students spring elections season rolls around.  Pristine posters line the campus walkways, and hopeful candidates encourage potential voters as they walk by. What the casual observer may not know is that only one person, the Associated Students elections coordinator, organizes elections from start to finish to ensure that the 10 Chico State student representatives on the AS Board of Directors are elected in a fair and transparent manner. In 2011, Ashley Holten-Westhaver, a senior animal science major, held this prestigious position.

Appointed as the CSU, Chico Associated Students elections coordinator in the fall of 2010, Westhaver jumped right into organizing, planning, and coordinating all general elections that took place the following spring. Westhaver had always wanted to get involved with student government, and she believed her past experiences and leadership skills could help strengthen the AS team and revamp the Associated Students general elections.

Chico State has a history of having the highest student voter participation in the California State University system. Westhaver helped the spring 2011 Associated Students general elections achieve the highest student voter participation percentage in the history of the University. Westhaver said, “It took a lot of hard work, dedication, and creativity to accomplish this, and it is something I am very proud of.” 

Westhaver’s role as elections coordinator is just one of the many ways she has jumped into campus life at CSU, Chico.  She also serves as the service learning coordinator for Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE), the Panhellenic vice president of philanthropy and community service, and a volunteer with the Sacramento Ronald McDonald House through her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. 

Alumni, parents, and friends who have received a call from the Chico State Student Call Center may have spoken with Westhaver herself. From August to Dec. of 2010, she was the only agriculture student among 30 student callers who call to raise money for the University and its programs.  Her direct knowledge of how donations and gifts to the College of Agriculture would be used for hands-on agriculture education made Westhaver an asset in the Call Center.

During the summer of 2011, Westhaver was offered a risk management internship with Nationwide Agribusiness. The internship turned into an extended paid position with flexible hours that is hers until she graduates. Westhaver said, “Even though the internship is in a different area of the industry than my major, I am still extremely grateful for the opportunity.” Westhaver said the internship has opened new doors for unexpected career opportunities in her future.

Working closely with Professor Celina Johnson as a teaching assistant and helping to supervise feeding trials at the Sheep and Goat Unit, Westhaver has developed a strong interest in ruminant nutrition. She is applying to graduate schools for fall 2012 to earn a master’s degree in animal nutrition. Where she goes from there is uncertain, but Westhaver’s diverse experiences at Chico State and her willingness to take on new challenges will serve her well in the future.