The Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the university’s undergraduate student governing body, met on Wednesday, Nov. 10 to discuss the search for and hiring of new senators from the College of Medicine, College of Optical Sciences and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
The meeting was called to order at 7:08 p.m. and adjourned at 8:02 p.m. The Senate gathered in the Madera Room of the Student Union Memorial Center and over Zoom.
According to ASUA’s post-meeting minutes, five senators were marked absent during roll call: Elsa Ayon, senator for the College of Education; Paige Campbell, senator for the College of Nursing; Lady Dorothy Elli, an at-large senator; Sydney Mathis, senator for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Swathi Ramkumar, senator for the College of Engineering. Ex Officio Assistant Dean Sylvester Gaskin was also absent.
Search for New Senators
ASUA is currently working on filling its final three senate positions. If accomplished, this would fill the senate class, something that, according to Executive Vice President Ally Devereux, has not been done in a very long time.
“I don’t know when the last time was when we had a full senate class at ASUA, so I’m really excited about that,” Devereux said.
The three colleges which still need senate representation are the College of Medicine, College of Optical Sciences and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Currently, Devereux has interviews scheduled with multiple students from the College of Medicine but has yet to find candidates from the other two colleges, due in part to the small size of the schools.
“Optical Sciences is going to be harder because it’s such a small college. I think there’s only a couple hundred students in it, so that might not happen. But I hope it does, and the same thing with CALS,” Devereux said.
The positions have been posted on Handshake, a website for student job openings at the University of Arizona. Devereux is also reaching out to the deans of the respective colleges and encouraging current senators to reach out to students they think might be interested in joining ASUA.
ASUA is currently brainstorming new initiatives to focus on. After passing an initiative last week to allocate $5,000 from their budget to the student union to help fund free grab-and-go meals on Thanksgiving to UA students, the senate still has $15,000 left in their budget.
Some suggestions for where to place these funds included redoing the ASUA office and allocating the money to increase access to mental health resources on campus.
Renovating the ASUA office would potentially involve repainting the walls, adding more furniture, adding more outlets and more seating areas, according to Devereux.
In terms of mental health resources, ASUA is looking into increasing student access to Counseling and Psych Services or possibly working to combat food insecurity through partnership with Students for Sustainability and their “Swipe Out Hunger” program. This project, which allows students to donate the meal swipes they do not use so that these meals do not go to waste, is an effort that colleges across the country participate in.
Senator for the College of Fine Arts Jack Haskins notes that food insecurity is an important topic to consider when discussing the mental health of students on campus.
“Something that really affects mental health is not having access to food, and so I thought the swiping away was a really good idea ... and a really good way to allocate those funds,” Haskins said.
These different opportunities for allocation of funds will be discussed more in-depth at the next meeting.
Library Hours Initiative
Noah Vega, ASUA student body president, met with Arizona Board of Regents Student Regent Rachel Kanyur to discuss the initiative to keep the library open 24 hours.
The primary obstacle to this goal is funding. The size of the main library makes it challenging to employ enough staff members to keep the facility running for 24 hours. According to Devereux, on a peak day, nearly 30,000 students and faculty will visit the main library.
Vega plans to continue meeting with Kanyur to discuss this initiative and possibly secure funding that would go toward making it happen
“I’m going to have a couple more conversations with the student regent, gain some traction here and get some ideas and possibly work with more regents and secure some funding,” Vega said. “Time and time again, Gaskin says ‘money is out there’, we just need to find it.”
Notable Mentions: Upcoming Events
Many clubs on campus have events coming up soon. The UA Campus Pantry is hosting a fundraising event at Moto Sonora on Thursday, Nov. 18 from 4:30-10 p.m.
Feminists Organized to Resist, Create and Empower is holding its annual “SlutWalk” on Friday, Nov. 19 from 6-8 p.m. on the UA Mall. In the hopes of making the event as accessible as possible, it will be stationary, with poetry and performances as well as activities like poster-making and games.
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