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Inside ASUA

ASUA Notebook: Senate Meeting March 26



The final report of the Representation and Club Engagement Task Force was unveiled at the ASUA Senate Wednesday night.

The task force, composed of representatives from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the Graduate and Professional Student Council and the Student Bar Association, was brought together with the purpose of identifying problematic areas in ASUA and presenting suggestions on how to move forward with those issues.

“We talked about what our mission was and we realized there were concerns we wanted to address,” said Taylor Ashton, a political science and economics junior and ASUA chief of staff. “We’re pretty proud of the outcome.”

The task force put together a survey online to focus on ASUA representation and club interaction and engagement. A total of 166 students responded to the survey.

“[It was] very diverse representation – all grades, graduate students and various clubs – providing insight into what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right,” Ashton said.

After receiving the information, the task force worked on analyzing the data and identified the primary issues.

“We reviewed surveys individually, identified common themes, identified the top five concerns and meet again to figure out our suggestions,” Ashton said.

The five major areas that the task force suggested to improve was OrgSync, ASUA and GPSC collaboration, club recognition and renewal processes, promotion of services and resources and use of social media and marketing.

“What we think we need to do is make the guidelines more defined so that clubs actually know what they’re doing,” Ashton said.
Ashton said he hopes to see more promotion of funding resources.

“We’re pretty proud of the outcome,” Ashton said.

After discussing the results of the RCE task force, the topics at the meeting turned to ways to allocate the remaining $11,000 of ASUA’s budget.

Mary Rose Brennan, a pre-business freshman, and Austin Rogers, a pre-physiology student, requested about $566 from ASUA to fund Discover Your ASUA, a Freshman Class Council event.

The two outreach chairs of FCC are putting on an event on the mall targeting freshmen to better inform them about ASUA and hopefully get more students involved with the organization. They said they will be educating students on three areas of ASUA – the senate, the cabinet and programs and services – and giving out free Eegee’s and pizza.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to get really involved with ASUA, because a lot of people on my hall don’t really know what ASUA is,” Brennan said.

The event is scheduled to take place on April 9 near the Alumni Plaza.

Sen. Dakota Staren also proposed funding summer session scholarships with some of the remaining money.

“We have a lot of money in our budget left,” Staren said, “and what better way to use it than to give it to students.”

Staren proposed offering three scholarships, each amounting to around $1,300, which would cover any three credit class for summer session one or two.

At the end of the meeting, Issac Ortega, ASUA treasurer and president-elect, informed the senate that the money remaining in the budget would not roll over, and said that means there is more incentive to use all of the money.


ASUA presidential candidates hold final debate



On the eve of the ASUA general election, the two presidential candidates engaged in a second debate covering their platforms and issues facing UA students.

Taylor Ashton, Associated Students of the University of Arizona chief of staff, and Issac Ortega, ASUA treasurer, both talked about what they would bring to the ASUA presidency in the debate late Monday night that was hosted on UATV.

Ashton said he had a tangible set of action items he could accomplish if he were to be elected president. He also said that within his first 30 days in office, he hopes to create open and online scheduling for academics.

Ashton also proposed creating an advisory committee comprised of students and organizations representing a wide range of the UA student body to look at where tuition money is going. He said he would include the Daily Wildcat on the advisory committee.

Ortega said he hoped that, during his presidency, ASUA would become more proportionally representative of the student body.

Ortega went on to propose that he would implement a system in which students with disabilities would contribute to a report card on each of the departments on campus on how accessible they are to students with disabilities.

The subject of stable tuition was brought up at the debate with both candidates agreeing that such a model would be good for UA students.

Ortega said that when it comes to tuition, there are costs ASUA can help control, such as on-campus spending.

“Once the money is gone, the battle is kind of lost,” Ortega said, “but we should never stop the fight on being able to control the costs we can.”

Ashton said he was the candidate to elect because he has the dedication to see change through.

“I’ve got the experience, I’ve got the dedication, I’ve got the drive,” Ashton said, “and I know I will do an excellent job in this position if elected.”

Ortega said his struggles growing up and on the road to college have prepared him for this position.

“‘Don’t forget us and the other people you came here with,’” he said. “That was the one promise I made through this thing that I will never forget.”


ASUA Notebook: Senate Meeting Jan. 22



The ASUA Senate held its first weekly meeting of the semester on Wednesday night and approved funding for a marketing campaign for the Free Financial Aid Workshop.

Senators voted unanimously to approve $175 for the marketing campaign, which will include flyers, mailing lists and ASUA newsletters, according to Zachary Miller the ASUA senator who brought up the proposal. The funding will also cover the free food that will be provided at the workshop.

“[The workshop] was one of my platforms last year,” Miller said, “to create a free workshop for students to go to learn about financial aid … FASFA and learn about tips and tricks.”

The Free Financial Aid Workshop is in its second year and provides services to both high school and college students, Miller said. The next workshop will be held Jan. 29 in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

ASUA Executive Vice President Danielle Novelly said she is excited to see all the senators’ platforms come into play for the new semester.

“Last semester was a lot of planning and trying to figure out how they could go about implementing the things they ran upon,” Novelly said, “and this semester will be a lot more implementing.”

Novelly also said several new things for clubs will be coming soon; however, the details have not yet been set.

And she said she’s looking forward to the upcoming elections.

“In general … I am excited to work with whoever is the next person elected [ASUA president],” Novelly said.


ASUA announces special election results



ASUA announced Mike Mazzella, a communication junior, as winner of the senate special elections on Wednesday night.

“[It was a] pretty grueling campaign process but definitely worth it in the long run,“ Mazzella said. “I’m very excited for this opportunity.”

Results:

Michael Mazzella: 700, 46.5 percent

Hannah Sager: 621, 41.3 percent

Ashley Olson: 183, 12.2 percent

Total: 1,504


ASUA Senate seeks student input on tobacco-free campus



ASUA senators discussed a resolution to make the UA a tobacco-free campus at their weekly meeting Wednesday night.

The Student Health Advocacy Committee proposed the initiative which will be voted on at next week’s meeting.

Morgan Abraham, ASUA president, said that while he is in favor of the initiative, he plans on taking into account input from students, which was part of the platform on which he ran.

“This year we’re trying to put the focus and the emphasis on the students, so we’re actually going to be hosting a public forum on the tobacco issue,” Abraham said. “We’re really, really excited about that.”

Along with the forum, Morgan said he plans to use polls and a focus group to get students’ opinions on the issue. He added that ASUA will hold several forums dealing with various issues that affect students.

Zac Miller, vice chair of the ASUA senate said that although he is in favor of eliminating secondhand smoke on campus, he does not feel it is the senate’s place to make personal decisions for students.

“I don’t think that as a senate class representing a student body we should say, ‘We don’t want you to smoke,’” he said, adding that if the resolution were to be passed, it would be done more for the non-smoking students and faculty.

If the resolution is approved by the Senate, it would represent a strong show of support for the initiative, which will be officially voted on by the Faculty Senate in the next month or two, Abraham said.

The initiative, which would prohibit smoking on all UA controlled property, would be gradually implemented over the course of about a year, he said.


Meet your student body president



After just nine months as a senator for the 2012-2013 senate class, Morgan Abraham, an engineering management senior, was elected as the ASUA president in March. Abraham will spend his term implementing a stronger lobbying voice for the UA, as well as connecting with students.

Daily Wildcat: How did you first become interested in the Associated Students of the University of Arizona?

I guess the idea of senate kind of piqued my interest the most — you know, 10 students deciding all areas of ASUA, the direction, the policy, especially the bylaws. The idea of debating and talking about issues and progressing ASUA, I really liked that aspect.

There was also the aspect of doing your senate platforms. There was a lot of stuff I ran off of that I’m still working on that I think were big changes to the school that I really cared about and was passionate about. So that just happened to mix in nicely.

Why did you decide to run for president after being in the senate for only nine months?

I’ve always kind of loved leading people and kind of molding something the way that I kind of see it. I guess honestly with all the ASA [Arizona Students’ Association] drama, I’m not going to lie, I saw how all that was played out, and I figured that I could really do some good here.

There are a lot of ideas I have that weren’t really considered and there are a lot of areas that students aren’t seeing, students aren’t getting involved in, students aren’t hearing and so that kind of convinced me.

It was definitely a tough decision, but I figured that, why not just try it? If I lose the election then at least I can say I tried and I was fortunate enough to win.

Tell me about your presidential platforms.

I’m trying to implement a stronger lobbying voice for just the University of Arizona. I think that’s been missing in years past. We’ve focused and relied way too much on ASA, so I’m trying to almost create a small policy department within ASUA.

We’ve created a national affairs director and a local affairs director, and these are going to be two people that are solely responsible for relationships at the local and national level and kind of educating students on what’s going on. I think our ASA directors do a great job already, but I’d like to see them more focused on what UA students want.

We’re going to be working a lot with the university and the resources the university has for us. Hopefully we’ll have a lot better presence at the Capitol and within Tucson.

How will you prepare for your presidency over the summer?

A lot of what the summer is for the president, kind of feeling comfortable in his shoes — that’s what I’ve been told. I’m going to be meeting with a lot of the administrators that I’m going to have to work with the rest of the year. It’s kind of a slower time to kind of start to feel like I’m in charge, so I’ll be here the whole entire summer.

There’s a lot of stuff that I’m trying to change about ASUA, about how we lobby and our policy department, and then there’s a lot of stuff that we’re going to change about ASA, so that’s kind of the first order of business. It’s, in my opinion, the biggest mess right now. And so that’s pretty much going to be my whole entire summer.

What are you most excited for?

I’m most excited for where ASUA can go next year. The past president has done an amazing job, and it’s an honor to take over the legacy, but there’s just so much we can do more that we’re not doing right now.

I’d love to be able to walk down the [UA] Mall and ask students, “Do you know what ASUA is?” and I’d love to get the answer that I’m looking for.

Are you nervous about anything?

There’s a lot of stuff I’m nervous for, obviously. I mean, you look up on the plaques in the president’s office … there’s names like John “Button” Salmon on there.

This is a legacy that I have to take on. It’s over 100 years worth of presidents so that aspect is just so scary, knowing that how much people have put in to this and how it’s all kind of resting on my shoulders.


ASUA Notebook: Senate Meeting April 10



The ASUA Freshman Class Council set off party poppers during this week’s ASUA Senate meeting, trying to show that they have the most spirit.

The council gave the first of three presentations at the meeting. Council President Daniel Douglas and Vice President Hannah Sager delivered the presentation.

“As you guys probably know since you’re in the office, [the] Freshman Class Council is the proudest part of the office, but definitely the loudest part of the office, so we thought we’d start this off with a bang,” Douglas said, before both he and Sager set off party poppers.

The council then went over its four pillars — philanthropy, spirit, friendship and outreach — as well as some of its achievements, including a documented 663.5 community service hours and a record high voter turnout in the last election.

Before the end of the presentation, they set off two more party poppers.

The Student Health Advocacy Committee requested a funding of $399.97 for first aid kits in residence halls, which was approved.

Jordan King, vice chairman for the Arizona Students’ Association board of directors and chairman of the internal affairs committee, spoke about the recent passage of House Bill 2169 and the last ASA meeting for the year.

“Myself, and other members of the ASA board decided that we weren’t going to pass anything substantial, as our final meeting we wanted to pass ideas and recommendations to Morgan’s [Sen. Abraham] board and everyone on the board next year,” King said.

Because of the bill passage, ASA can no longer collect student fees.

“The only way ASA can be funded is through fundraising efforts,” King said. “Luckily we have enough money in our reserves so we can operate well for at least the next year.”

King added that even with everything that has happened, ASA appreciates the help and support from ASUA, thanked them, and wished Senators luck as they move on to bigger positions.


Student Health Advocacy Committee asks ASUA to support Tobacco-Free Initiative



The ASUA Senate discussed the possibility of turning the UA into a tobacco-free campus at its weekly meeting Wednesday night.

The Student Health Advocacy Committee proposed a plan to start the Tobacco-Free Initiative on campus as soon as possible.

SHAC works in cooperation with ASUA to provide assistance and awareness to students about campus health services. The committee is comprised of 35 members that organize and participate in health-related events like eating disorders, mental health, cooking, nutrition and disease prevention.

Its most recent project is the Tobacco-Free Initiative, which would ban the use of any tobacco products on the UA campus including cigarettes, chew, and hookah. SHAC plans to propose an amendment to the current UA tobacco policy rather than propose an entirely.

“Both cigarette smoking and tobacco-use have been scientifically proven to be detrimental to your health,” said Leena Patel, a public health senior and director of SHAC. “As students of the University of Arizona, we want to eliminate secondhand-smoke on campus while also promoting better lifestyle choices.”

Currently, the UA Health Sciences Center campus is tobacco-free and SHAC would like to implement the policy to include the main campus as soon as possible, Patel said.

As of Jan. 2, there were 1,129 smoke-free campuses in the nation, according to a study conducted by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, including Pac-12 school University of Oregon. Arizona State University has also recently announced that its campus will become tobacco-free starting Aug. 1.

“These are all campuses that we hold ourselves to compare with and who are Pac-12 schools,” Patel said. “We don’t want to be below them, we want to be able to compete with them, and this is one of those initiatives.”

SHAC proposed that the ASUA Senate pass a senate resolution advocating in favor of a tobacco-free policy for the UA, to prove that there is support from the general student body on this issue to the Faculty Senate and President Ann Weaver Hart.

“The whole thing we are looking for is the student voice,” said Shanan Immel, a microbiology sophomore and a member of SHAC’s Pandemic and Epidemic Prevention team. “That is what they want to hear. Not just that one committee thinks it’s important but that you guys think its important.”

SHAC plans to propose an amendment to the current UA tobacco policy rather than propose an entirely new policy with the hopes of getting it approved and implemented faster, said Stephanie Kha a biochemistry sophomore and member of SHAC’s Health and Wellness Commitee.

In terms of enforcement, Kha said, SHAC proposed that the university take an approach of promoting awareness of the policy throughout campus rather than directly disciplining individuals who disobey it.

“I actually think that it’s going to be easier to enforce,” Sen. Alex Chang said. “Because with the whole 50 feet away from buildings people don’t necessarily care about that, and if everyone knows it’s not something that’s allowed on campus I think people will get a lot more judgmental and they won’t be as inclined to smoke on campus.”

SHAC will also advocate for support from the Graduate and Professional Student Council on this initiative.

The senate approved the addition of a Wildcat Events Board Fee onto the ASUA March ballot and UA Libraries requested funding for additional services and supplies. It was also introduced to a new UA website, EcoPower, that will debut Friday as well as a new Facebook page called, UA Listens.

An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that the senate voted to approve a resolution of support for the initiative. Although the senate discussed taking official action, the senate will not consider passing the resolution until its next meeting. The post has been updated to reflect this correction.

An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that Leena Patel was a public health junior. Patel is a senior. The post has been updated to reflect this correction.


ASUA appoints new family weekend director



The Associated Students of the University of Arizona senate announced a new Family Weekend director on Wednesday.

The senate unanimously voted Courtney Kramer in as new director for Family Weekend. Kramer will plan the events for Family Weekend in fall 2013, according to Krystina Nguyen, executive vice president of ASUA.

The Senators also discussed a few projects in the works.

Sen. Taylor Ashton has been working on a “syllabus preview” that would allow students to see a class’ syllabi before registering. He said his goal is to have a pilot program where the additional course information will be available for general education and entry level classes before potentially making it campus wide.

Sen. Jake Barman has been working with the Greek community on campus on a project called Greeks Go Green. Twelve fraternities and sororities are participating in the project which seeks to build sustainability by composting and recycling.

The ASUA Senate meets every Wednesday in the Ventana room of the Student Union Memorial Center. ASUA also broadcasts its meetings: http://asua.arizona.edu/ASUASite/senate.html.


ASUA Notebook: Senate Meeting Jan. 30



ASUA senators approved new flyers for financial aid workshops and discussed an event that will allow students to have breakfast with Ann Weaver Hart, president of the University of Arizona, at their weekly meeting.

Sen. Joel Torres motioned for the approval of flyers for financial aid workshops scheduled for February and March.

“I want to get these out as soon as possible to start making the visibility and try to get as many students as we can to try to attend these,” Torres said.

Sen. Taylor Ashton also commented on the motion.

“The flyers are really nice and it’s a really reasonable request,” Ashton said. “There isn’t any reason we shouldn’t approve this.”

The flyers were approved for a total of $187.43.

A new event will allow selected students to join President Hart for breakfast. Students are required to submit an application to be considered for the breakfast. Applications are due at the ASUA front desk by 5p.m. on Monday.

There will be two breakfasts this semester, the first one on Feb. 14, according to Katy Murray, president of ASUA. The breakfasts will be from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the Ventana room at the Student Union Memorial Center.

“Basically the whole idea behind this breakfast is for Dr. Hart to get to know students, for us to get to know her,” Murray said.

Hart does not want the breakfast to be structured around a particular topic, but wants it to be real and genuine, according to Murray. Hart also wants to know what students are passionate about and concerned about, and inform them about what she is doing, Murray added.

“It’s going to be a really cool way to get to know her on a personal level, and she has just so many awesome stories and experiences that are relevant to things we are doing now,” Murray said. “I think it’s going to be a really awesome thing for students to take advantage of.”