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 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.”
Michael Mazzella: 700, 46.5 percent
Hannah Sager: 621, 41.3 percent
Ashley Olson: 183, 12.2 percent
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
The spring semester should prove to be busy for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.
Each spring, student government presidents from the Arizona universities help set tuition, acting as student representatives to the Board of Regents. In addition to that, ASUA President Katy Murray told the Daily Wildcat that she has some goals that she would like to complete, such as bringing Spring Fling back to campus.
Murray said the plan is for Spring Fling to return to campus by the fall of 2014 but for now will remain at Rillito Downs. Meetings about Spring Fling will take place later this month and next month as well.
Also in the works this spring is a concert to benefit cancer research that the ASUA and the organization WillPower will be hosting, according to Murray.
Murray said she also hopes to arrange two breakfasts where students will have a chance to sit down and meet President Ann Weaver Hart. Murray is working on creating the breakfast application and said she wants to have the first one in February and the other in April.
In addition, Murray said she plans on streamlining the ASUA website for easier use and navigation.
A public policy resolution resulted in disagreement amongst senators, bylaws were changed, a presentation was given on the ThinkTank and $1,000 was allocated at the weekly senate meeting on Dec. 5.
Public Policy Resolution
Sen. Valerie Hanna, Morgan Abraham, and Logan Bilby urged senators to approve a resolution, which stated the senate supported the consideration of a public policy department within ASUA.
The general idea for the department was to create student positions for advocates of the UA student body at the university, local, state, and national levels.
Sen. Danielle Novelly had an issue with the resolution saying the three senators handled this incorrectly; that resolutions should be used for action items, not thoughts.
The group said this was a good idea because it would serve as a precaution in case of a permanent removal of the $2 fee collected by the Arizona Students’ Association. Bilby used the analogy, “if a roof has a leak, one should fix it, even if it’s not raining just yet.” Many others spoke out against his comments, questioning the need to spend time and money on a nonissue.
Abraham began the discussion on the resolution with a statement saying no one should be concerned about offending anyone. Following this, there was a popular theme of stating ‘no offense’ before speakers made a statement on the resolution.
Despite statements of ‘no offense,’ many officials were offended with the resolution, including ASUA Academic Affairs Director, Anthony Carli.
Carli spoke at the beginning of the meeting, explaining how his position was overlooked in the formation of the resolution and he said he found it upsetting some people didn’t know who he was. He explained his position is to advocate the student voice to higher officials at the UA, which was one of the positions the resolution wanted to create.
ASUA President Katy Murray was also upset at the resolution and at the fact that the three senators who created the resolution had not attended the cabinet.
“I am not in any way against change or revision,” Murray said. “But I think it’s really uncalled for and almost pathetic to call for change just to call for change. You can’t really work on something without necessarily having a cause or a direct way that you want to go with it. I also feel like why run, if you don’t need to run yet.”
Some also had an issue with the resolution due to cost. Graduate Professional Student Council President Zachary Brooks spoke at the beginning of the meeting on concerns for the cost of such a department. The three senators said there would be restructuring to ensure there is no waste of resources or any extra money spent in ASUA than there is now.
After a heated discussion, the resolution was struck down. However, by the end of the discussion, there was a general agreement of the necessity of change in restructuring ASUA.
SafeRide’s official name in their bylaws removed the ASUA from the title so as not to sound redundant.
Appropriations board bylaws changed to allow ASUA to cut funding for a club if they receive more than 30% from a university organization. Before the change the bylaws stated a club/organization could not receive funding from ASUA for the remainder of the year if they received $500 from another university organization. This was to prevent double dipping into funds.
James Allen and William Holmes gave a presentation on the graduate student services the ThinkTank offers.
According to the presentation, preparation courses and tests are administered at the ThinkTank for lower prices than what private companies offer. The test prep classes are $550 for four weeks as compared to the $1200 fee most companies charge.
LSAT tests are $160 with 87.5% of students saying they agree their scores increased after taking the class. GMAT test takers pay $250 and 88% of students claim their scores increased after taking the prep course. Students who want to take the GRE need to pay $175 and out of the students who took the GRE test prep course, 82% said they felt their scores increased.
UA’s test prep courses value added is that specialists on a test or particular sections of a test teach the courses.
Any money generated from the cost of the tests or courses are put straight back into the ThinkTank and the revenue will also lower the amount ThinkTank receives from the student services fee.
Senators allocated $1000 to fund Dr. Maura Cullen to speak at the UA on Jan. 26 and 27.
Her speaker cost was $5000, after she lowered the price for ASUA since she plans to speak at NAU around the same time. Dr. Maura Cullen is a diversity speaker who some RA’s watch before they begin their job at the UA.