For close to a century, the student body has elected a student government, known as the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, to represent and fight for their voices to be heard. Over time, this has turned into an election of three executive officers, three senators-at-large and a senator from each college.
ASUA is responsible for facilitating communication and conversations between students and faculty/administration. The group is most commonly known for the founding and support of many student resources including Safe Ride, Campus Pantry, Campus Closet, Spring Fling, Student Health Advocacy Program, ZonaZoo, Wildcat Events Board and Students for Sustainability.
The student government also sponsors over 600 clubs and organizations, according to their website. These clubs get recognition and apply for appropriations funding, which allocates around $250,000 every year to their recognized clubs for things like trips, T-shirts and events.
Over the years, ASUA has made major changes in advocacy for the rights, needs and wants of students. The group has passed many resolutions in support of students and student change. Just this past year, the senate body passed two new resolutions for their clubs including the land acknowledgment resolution and the diversity, equity, and inclusion training resolution. These resolutions were passed in hope of improved diversity awareness and inclusivity, along with recognition of the university’s housing on Native American land.
Over a year ago, it was announced that ASUA would be adding a house of representatives to their senate. During a time where the conversation of social justice and diversity was becoming more and more important, the senate watched students struggle to fight for their voices to be heard. This is when the decision was made to add a house of representatives, with true representatives from every student group.
“There is really no other university that has a bicameral system … a lot of people have tried to change their senates to make it a bicameral system, but their senates have refused to vote in favor of it because they don’t want separation of powers, so we could potentially be first,” former 2019-20 ASUA President Sydney Hess said during the presentation of the meeting in February 2020.
The change will see the addition of 29 new members into ASUA from groups like APASA, IFC, Disability Resource Center, LGBTQ Affairs and Native American Student Affairs. The method of meetings and coordination is yet to be determined.
“The House of Representatives will be formed this year under the direction of EVP Devereux and the representative selection processes will be determined after coordination with the respective student populations/organizations,” said new Administrative Vice President Kyle Kline.
The new executive officers elected in the March elections are President Noah Vega, Executive Vice President Alexandra Devereux and Kline. Vega and Devereux previously served in the senate, Devereux as the senator for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Vega as executive vice president. All of the executives ran on platforms that advocated for things like Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, students’ rights, student resources and mental health.
Now that the senate can finally return to in-person meetings, much more can be done this year than they were able to accomplish last year. The consensus of the incoming class, according to email statements following the March election, is that this next year will be focused on communication and collaboration, improving this between students and ASUA, as well as between ASUA and administration.
In the spirit of accessibility and communication, Kline stated that he would be working with ASUA tech support to update senators’ contact information and streamline website information. The senators, their contact information and information on their resources can be found on asuatoday.arizona.edu. You can also keep up to date with the senate via their Instagram page @asua_senate and the ASUA Instagram and Twitter pages, both @asuatoday.
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