With the Associated Students of the University of Arizona elections here, the Daily Wildcat asked current senators, the executive vice president and the ASUA president what the benefits of running for their positions and their overall experiences in office are.
Some benefits of being a senator were explained by Sens. Hailey Schwartz, Andreas Zai, Maddy Bynes and Alec Kretch.
Each senator receives a total of $1,200 divided into $300 per quarter, according to Zai.
Their salaries come from an income stream funded by fee allocations, the UA Bookstore and a student affairs transfer, according to Schwartz. She said the senate specifically gets 7 percent of the student affairs transfer and their salaries are determined by a self-analysis. Factors taken into account are the changing responsibilities of a senator, the value that senators provide to ASUA and the alternative income options for students on senate.
Each senator is expected to represent the UA student body, according to both Zai and Bynes. The agendas that they pursue should be a manifestation of the needs and wants of their constituents. Zai said there are no required quotas for senators to fill.
Current duties as senate would include holding 12 office hours every week, attending weekly meetings and sitting on a variety of external committees, Schwartz said. The senate is given the task of providing reports and updates at weekly meetings and approving the funding allocations of the ASUA Appropriations Board to the clubs on campus, according to both Schwartz and Bynes. The senate may be presented with funding requests, new suggestions from student groups and other political issues, upon which they have the responsibility to act, Schwartz said.
“Overall, the responsibility of serving as a senator is what one makes of it,” Kretch said. “Senators are held to the honor system, meaning that someone is able to use senate as a platform to make a real difference at the UA, but only if they choose to do so.”
Each senator described their overall experience in office this year:
Zai: “Senate has been a really rewarding experience. I have spent time with some of the university’s most influential members: President [Ann Weaver] Hart and Mr. Greg Byrne, for starters. I was part of a committee involved in the inception of the Office of Student Engagement, which was very rewarding and an incredible learning experience.”
Schwartz: “My time as an ASUA senator has been extremely rewarding. I’ve loved working with both the students and administration in ASUA. I am continuously humbled by their achievements and contributions to the university.”
Kretch: “I had a positive experience as a senator, as I was able to collaborate with Sen. Trey Cox to create a team of software development interns that work on tech projects for the school. Sen. Cox and I are currently working on how we can improve this project and keep this project sustainable for many years to come.”
Bynes: “My experience with ASUA representing the student body has been one of my favorite experiences of college. I’ve had the opportunity to influence the university policy and try to influence state policy. It is important to me that everyone has a voice.”
Evan Hastings described his job as the ASUA executive vice president:
According to Hastings, the executive vice president stipend is set at $4,500 for the year by the senate class in the year previous to his term. The money comes from the general ASUA budget.
Hastings said his job consists of registering every student organization on campus, oversight of the senate, collaboration with other ASUA executives to advance the mission and goals of ASUA, support of the student clubs and organizations through the management of the Club Resource Center and oversight of the allocation of the funds in the ASUA Club Funding project.
The job requires about 20 to 30 office hours per week, which can extend into breaks and holidays too, Hastings said.
“If you breakdown my stipend to an hourly pay, I would estimate it to about $1 an hour,” Hastings said. “I only include this to express that this job is not about the money to me. I have personally benefited tremendously in everything I learned, connections I have made and personal gratification in dedication to the university.”
Hastings said although his time in office has been strenuous, he is extremely honored to be able to serve the students to the degree he has. He said he is extremely proud of the success in the executive branch while it is still in his care and how his team has brought the Club Resource Center some necessary improvements.
“The thing I still love most about the position is connecting students with each other or university resources to better their college experience,” Hastings said.
ASUA President Manny Felix described his time in office and what is expected of his position:
The ASUA president receives $6,000 per year, which the senate approves, according to Felix.
The job entails to always serve the students, as well as be a voice for them, and to continually think of ways to help improve the experience of every student during their time at the UA, Felix said.
“My overall experience as ASUA president has been nothing short of amazing. Long hours and restless nights are worth it when you realize what you’re doing is helping thousands of students,” Felix said. “Also, everyone that I’ve had the chance to work with this year has played a huge part into my overall experience. From administrators, to faculty, advisors, students and members of the community of Tucson, I have only had great experiences working with all of them.”
Felix said the more he thinks about it, the less he wants inauguration to come on May 2, because that will mean his term as president will officially be over.
Vote for the next ASUA senators, executive vice president and president on March 1.
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