Last April at the Earth Day celebration on campus, Mardel Baldwin and members of Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), handed out 750 refillable aluminum water bottles to encourage the use of a filtered water dispenser that had been recently installed in the Loker Student Union (LSU). This fall, Baldwin hopes to provide another form of refreshment for his fellow students by serving as ASI president.
“This year, we’re hoping to have more student involvement,” says Baldwin, who served as ASI’s director of Student Services last semester and funded the bottles with a grant from the California State Student Association. “We’re going to be there on the walkway… in the classrooms, and make our programs more structured to the students’ needs.”
Assessing the needs of his fellow students has been a priority for Baldwin, who encouraged ASI to hire a consultant to examine the student government program and advise its members on what direction they should take. He also looks forward to encouraging ASI and the student body to invest in their quality of life with a referendum to help build a recreation center on campus in conjunction with the LSU.
“I want [students] to focus on their future,” says Baldwin. “The way society is going, we’re trying to be healthier, we’re trying to exercise, and we’re trying to live longer. A rec center would be a great thing for us to have.”
Another project that Baldwin is focused on is the Male Success Alliance, a campus initiative to increase the retention of African American and Latino men. Working with William Franklin, associate vice president of Student Success Services, Baldwin says that the program aims to find out what can be done to propel male students to academic success and graduation at CSU Dominguez Hills.
“They’re not graduating,” says Baldwin. “We are having a freshman convocation on September 14, with a forum where we talk about the issues that men have: Why are they coming [to college] and then leaving after a year? What’s going on at home, why aren’t they graduating, and what can we do to help them?”
Baldwin, who transferred to CSU Dominguez Hills from Long Beach City College, says that although he was planning on finding a job after earning his Associate of Arts degree in business, he found that there was very little mobility without a bachelor’s degree.
“I want to do great things in my life and I know that college is a crucial part of me doing them,” says Baldwin, who is majoring in business administration with an emphasis in sports, entertainment, and hospitality. “What got me to college was that there were no jobs for anybody who didn’t have a degree. What got me here to stay was that I love Dominguez Hills. I love the excitement that’s here, the potential that we have to grow.”
With realizing potential as a theme of his administration, Baldwin is collaborating with the Alumni Association on a gift to students from his graduating class of 2012. Seniors will be encouraged to donate $20.12, which will be combined with ASI’s existing Toro Tuesday Scholarship Fund for a year’s tuition. He says that the proceeds from the senior class fundraiser could feasibly provide two students with a year’s scholarship.
“It would be a great start for the future,” says Baldwin. “What I would like [the graduating class] to continue is pride in Dominguez Hills, being proud of who they are, and being able to help others who are coming up. If we could set an example for the freshmen coming in, they will see that and continue the legacy for the people behind them.”