Natalynn Masters was elected to the position of Associated Students of the University of Arizona Student Body President on March 1. Through her focus on issues such as supporting marginalized students on campus, combating sexual harassment and educating faculty on microagressions, she hopes to make the school a better place.
Daily Wildcat: Tell me about yourself, and in what capacities are you already involved in ASUA?
Natalynn Masters: I’m a junior here. Currently, I work as the diversity director for ASUA diversity. So I sit in Matt’s [Lubisich] current cabinet — the current student body president — and I work with my associate, Mia Sullivan. My big goal this year in this position is kind of rebuilding these communications [with cultural centers] so it’s not this one-time thing like, ‘Oh, we only have this conversation one time a year when something comes up,’ but just having these conversations throughout the year and having that friendship start to grow.
DW: What will your priorities be as ASUA president?
NM: I think now, and especially over the summer, I want to focus on student engagement. Even before we get to summer, ASUA applications for all the positions for next year open within the next month or so. And so, I really want — working with my team and working with my advisers — to be making sure that outreach is out there, because I really want this year to be more students knowing about ASUA and applying for ASUA. That’s my big thing: student engagement. And then, over the summer, just outreach for students. I’m going to be here over the summer, so just popping in at orientation and being seen and trying to promote ASUA as much as possible.
DW: You campaigned on updating the ASUA website and making sure that it’s accessible. Ideally, what does the ASUA website look like to you? Where do you see it?
NM: I see it as a one-stop shop for students. I go back to my freshman year when I was first trying to get involved. So, ASUA, I log on, I’m like, ‘Yes, this is student government; I’m going to find what I need,’ and I was just lost going through the website. So my vision is that it’s clean and that it’s easy to navigate.
DW: You mentioned a lot about the list of demands from the Marginalized Students of the University of Arizona. Realistically, how many of those demands do you think you can at least have a hand in helping during your time as student body president?
NM: I think I can have a hand in a lot of them. Maybe not in the whole sense of, like, me being the person that signs off on getting it done, but being the person that brings those conversations up. So, as president, I meet with a lot of heavy hitters on campus, senior leadership, and making sure that at the meetings I’m in that this is something that’s constantly being brought up and that we’re considering.
DW: What do you, as student body president, envision yourself doing to increase awareness of Title IX?
NM: I work in the Office of Institutional Equity. So I work with the great individuals that do Title IX training for faculty and staff on campus, and working in that office and seeing the work that they do, [it’s about] bringing those tactics and how they apply it there and kind of having a holistic UA approach to it. I think it’s huge, and I really want to foster that collaboration. And I think it’s important that, over the summer, meeting with OIE, meeting with [the] dean of students and meeting with senior leadership.
DW: How do you plan on maintaining a good relationship with the ASUA senate?
NM: I think that starts with meetings with the newly elected senators, as well as the new AVP [Administrative Vice President] and EVP [Executive Vice President] and making sure that we as the elected people of ASUA have a clear vision of what we want for the next year, and that we’re all on the same page so that when we’re tackling different things it’s not just a one-person approach.
DW: How do you envision yourself lobbying for students when it comes to topics like tuition and fees?
NM: I trust the people that I’m around. So the advisors that I have in ASUA — some are new and some have been here for many years at UA, so I trust the insight they give me, and having the belief that I am not talking about something that’s not important. So I think having the tools around me, so my advisers that can provide that insight on how to go about it, how ABOR [Arizona Board of Regents] works and like tactically how to approach it, as well as my involvement prior to being elected and knowing the students. So, having that confidence, that I’m not talking about something that I don’t know about.
DW: How do you see yourself keeping a good communication streamline with the administration so that you’re advocating for not only what ASUA wants, but what the student body wants as a whole?
NM: I think with the administration coming in, knowing how it works, meeting with administration and knowing that I’m student body president and I am here to communicate, that’s what I’m here for and that’s what I was elected to do. So, first and foremost, my priority is always going to be students. But then working with administration and understanding that there’s everyone in administration and knowing that there are people there on my side as well. So I think the biggest thing is fostering those relationships with people in administration.