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The College of Education and Integrative Studies is a learning community focused on meeting the present and future needs of students in our communities. We educate students to become highly qualified and significant leaders in our society. We are committed to the principles of diversity, ethics and social justice, and life-long learning. Central to our mission are innovative and integrative thinking, reflective practice, collaborative action, and learning by doing.

ASI President Recalls Lessons Learned in IGE Program

Farris Hamza

For Associated Students Inc. (ASI) President Farris Hamza, a former Interdisciplinary General Education (IGE) student at the College of Education and Integrative Studies (CEIS), maintaining the status quo is not an option.

In his first year of attending Cal Poly Pomona (CPP), he led a successful effort to improve the quality of life for students living on campus. “There were some concerns in my residential hall, such as the need for community space on my floor, that I brought up to the director of housing and he referred me to my student housing organization,” said Hamza. “My persistence in lobbying my representatives led to my appointment as secretary and programming assistant within the organization. Over time, I climbed the ranks and began to serve on the Inter-Hall Council, which manages student housing across campus.”

At the time, Hamza was also serving as the secretary of external affairs within ASI. “I would go to Washington and lobby for issues like Pell Grant and textbook affordability. Also, in my third year, I was appointed secretary for internal affairs, which allowed me to promote connectivity between the student councils and their deans. Through that position I was able to implement various hydration stations on campus, install new bike racks and voice student concerns in regards to a number of other large scale projects such as the acquisition of the Lanterman property.” 

Hamza admits that a lot of his training and development as a leader was cultivated at CPP.

“In my first year of attending CPP, I enrolled in the IGE program at CEIS,” he said. “The IGE program at CEIS embodies the concept of integrating theory and practice, which seemed like a very appealing pathway for me to pursue.”

The IGE program at CEIS offers a unique approach to completing general education requirements. Within the IGE program, students read, watch films, attend art events, participate in creative projects and engage in classroom discussion. IGE satisfies the requirements for Written Communication and many other Humanities and Social Science general education courses.

“IGE definitely helped me with my public speaking skills and ability to communicate more effectively,” he said. “It also helped me discover how I can work better in a team setting. In a lot of cases, in the IGE program, I had to do presentations and pitches in teams. Those experiences have helped me a lot, especially working with ASI.”

“It’s definitely an empowering experience with IGE. You aren’t being told to think a certain way, you’re encouraged to speak your mind and get your point across,” said Hamza. “I definitely have to take that type of mentality with me as an ASI representative. I need to be able to express my views and share what I believe is necessary. IGE taught me how to make my case.”

After receiving many years of training through his various leadership positions on campus, Hamza was elected ASI president on May 19, 2017.

“It came to a point where I became frustrated with some issues that weren’t being prioritized such as improving the outreach capabilities of the other organizations on campus. I ran because I wanted to see change,” he said.

In his third year of serving in ASI, Hamza’s vision is to develop stronger relationships with local and state elected officials, work with CPP to inform students about semester conversion, provide enhancements to the Bronco Student Center, boost fundraising and outreach efforts and address food insecurity on campus.

“I’m extremely honored to have the confidence and support of my peers at CPP.  Overall, I look forward to working with my colleagues in ASI to expand and create more opportunities for CPP students,” he concluded.

Hamza, a civil and industrial engineering major, is approaching his fourth year at CPP. His goal is to become an urban planner and develop cities.

Those interested in learning more about the IGE program can request information from Sheena Huang at 909-869-3347. For more information about CEIS, contact Ashley Jones at 909-869-5370.