History Department


History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History


Andrew Morris


Officially incorporated in 1964, California Polytechnic State University’s Associated Students, Inc. presides over a variety of aspects of student life on campus including student government, the management of several on-campus buildings, and employing students to work in these facilities.[1] The official ASI webpage proudly states their vision to “be every student’s connection to the ultimate college experience.”[2] Cal Poly has had student body presidents since the 1905-06 school year, but it wasn’t until 1921 that the first official organization was created in the form of the Student Affairs Council, or SAC.[3] Nationally, student self-governance in higher education has existed in a variety of forms since the 1700s beginning with literary societies, only evolving into modern day student associations such as our ASI near the turn of the twentieth century.[4] The strong desire for any form of autonomy came from the “students’ beliefs that they should be involved in the aspects of college life which most affected them.”[5]

[1] “About Us,” ASI Cal Poly, accessed February 9, 2016,

[2] “About Us,” ASI Cal Poly.

[3] Fred L. Genthner, memorandum to Ole Melund, 7 Jan 1977, ASI/SAC — CPVF, Robert E. Kennedy Library Special Collections and Archives, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA.

[4] Walter P. May, “The History of Student Governance in Higher Education,” The College Student Affairs Journal 28, no. 2 (2010): 207.

[5] Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society, s.v. “Student Government,” by Glenn Wallach, 794.