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.