If you’ve ever expressed your school spirit at ZonaZoo, used SafeRide to get home at night, hung out with friends at Spring Fling or gotten involved with any club or organization on campus, chances are you’ve heard of ASUA. Most recently, you may read some of the Daily Wildcat’s coverage of the ASUA primary that concluded on February 19. But what is ASUA? Who is involved and how does the election process work?
What is ASUA?
ASUA stands for “The Associated Students of The University of Arizona.” According to its website, ASUA is “a representative organization led by University of Arizona students." The site says their mission is "to serve, engage, and empower the student body through advocacy and the provision of programs and resources.”
ASUA hosts several events throughout the year, most notable among them being Campus Pantry, SafeRide, Spring Fling and ZonaZoo. It’s also responsible for registering and funding all 600+ clubs and organizations on campus.
Who is involved in ASUA?
ASUA is made up of three executive officers, 16 senators, five justices and affiliated advisors and staff.
The student body president serves as the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of ASUA while also being the chief spokesperson for the students of UA, according to the organization’s website.
Some of the responsibilities of the president include, but are not limited to, creating and executing legislation voted on by the senate, appointing justices to the ASUA supreme court and ensuring that ASUA funds are spent according to senate funding.
The executive vice president presides over the ASUA senate. They are responsible for maintaining the legislative and business records of ASUA, as well as ensuring that the president is fulfilling their obligations.
The administrative vice president is in charge of overseeing all programs that ASUA runs. They hire directors for these programs and sit on various committees in order to ensure that the president’s agenda is carried out for the term.
A senator acts as a representative of students for a specific college or for the entire student body at-large. They turn student suggestions into action by approving legislation to create new programs and allocate funding to these programs or to the 600 recognized clubs and organizations throughout campus.
Rodrigo Robles is a sophomore currently finishing his term as a student body senator for the 2019-20 school year. He spoke to the Daily Wildcat about some of his priorities during his term.
“As a senator, I focused on three things: one, safety on campus," Robles said. "Two, reaching out to clubs around U of A, see what they need for funding, what they do around campus, what I should help them with … especially as someone of a Hispanic background, I like to reach out as a good representation for my community. Last but not least, promoting sustainability and eco-friendly programs around campus.”
According to the supreme court’s description on the ASUA website, justices have “jurisdictions over all appropriate matters concerning, but not limited to, campus organizations, election disputes, and ASUA governmental affairs.” Justices are nominated by the student body president and confirmed by a senate vote.
In addition to elected officials, directors may be appointed by the administrative vice president to oversee various ASUA programs.
Kirsten Hillig is a sophomore majoring in special education. She is codirector of Volunteer Services and director of Youth Cheer and Basketball, a kids’ basketball league funded by ASUA. She spoke of some of her obligations as a director.
“My main responsibility is organizing the Cheer and Basketball League," Hillig said. "It’s a public league that’s free for parents to sign their kids up. All of our coaches are volunteer coaches, so I make sure we have space at the [Student Recreation Center] and [McKale Center], make sure we have coaches, refs, jerseys … the logistics of it … I like my job."
All of the previously mentioned officials, except for justices, serve only for a single term of one year.
How do elections work?
An elections commissioner and deputy elections commissioner are appointed by the president-elect immediately after a general election; they have the responsibility to impartially oversee the election of all elected ASUA officials, according to the ASUA Elections Code. The elections commissioner sets the dates for the ASUA primary and general election, which are confirmed with approval by the senate.
In the primary election, students may cast one vote for each executive officer, cast three votes for up to three student body senators and cast one vote for a senator from their respective college, according to the ASUA Elections Code. Students may also write in individuals who aren’t candidates on the ballot. There are two candidates for each executive office, six candidates for student body senator and two candidates for senator of each college advance to the general election, according to the ASUA Elections Code. Results for both the primary and general election are tabulated within the next business day of ballots closing.
Derek Foehrkolb is a senior at the UA and the deputy election commissioner for ASUA.
“Currently, the general election runs for another two week," Foehrkolb said in an email. "Here is when the commission is responsible for holding forums, town halls, and debates between the candidates."
Foehrkolb said there will be a series of debates from Feb. 25-27 from 5-7 p.m. in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center and the final election will be held on March 3 and 4.
"Be sure to cast your vote voting through the online ballot on the ASUA website under the elections tab," Foehrkolb wrote in an email. "The winners will be announced after the polls closed within 24 hours open. Bam, you got the next years elected representatives."
For students looking to create new clubs, meet members of various communities or foster change on campus, ASUA is a powerful resource. The upcoming general election will determine who will represent you and the rest of the student body. So, make sure your voice is heard by voting in the general election on March 3 and 4!
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