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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Bruce, Anderson bid farewell to ASUA”

    No one was there to take official record when former Student Body President Tommy Bruce cleaned out his office shortly before the inauguration of a new ASUA class on May 1.

    There were no bustling reporters, no flashbulbs, no great last hurrah. It was almost anti-climactic as he rifled through his drawers to pack up his personal items, which were almost as telling of his work ethic as the Febreze that often replaced conventional washing of his clothes.

    A toothbrush here, a razor there, deodorant and shaving cream. The items make it seem more like a bedroom than an office – which is fitting, considering Bruce often slept there, exhausted from countless 20-hour days.

    “”It’s been blood, sweat and tears to get to this point,”” he said. “”How do you stop what you’ve been doing for four years.””

    Bruce and former Executive Vice President Jessica Anderson’s status as the UA’s only two-term Associated Students of the University of Arizona executives may live on for many years to come, but in less than a month, they will be moving on from university life.

    Bruce and Anderson – seemingly never further apart than a pair of old, comfortable shoes – will take their careers to their respective locations 3,000 miles away from each other. As Anderson heads to Seattle to work for Microsoft, Bruce is splitting for the Big Apple, staying in New York University dorms and searching for a job, possibly in marketing.

    “”I’ve always wanted to live in New York,”” Bruce said, “”and now I’m going to.””

    It’s been a long four years for the executive duo, but they seemed destined for leadership from the moment they became involved in student government as freshmen.

    As members of Freshman Class Council, Bruce and Anderson joked that the two would be ASUA president and vice president some day, a prediction that was fulfilled two years later.

    “”We laughed about it at the time,”” Anderson said. “”I mean, it was said in passing.””

    Being the two most recognized figures in UA student government did not exactly come easy for Bruce and Anderson. They learned quickly after taking office for their first terms that the president and executive vice president’s jobs are never done.

    “”I’ve never had so much e-mail in my life,”” Anderson said. “”Three hundred e-mails was a good day.””

    While Bruce and Anderson may prefer to remember the finer points of their UA years – increased club funding and developing ZonaZoo, Spring Fling and Saferide – it was the gaffes and perceived blunders that stick with the two on a personal level.

    “”We always learn from everything we do,”” Bruce said. “”There’s a big difference between constructive criticism and personal attacks.””

    One aspect of the criticism which particularly irks Bruce is criticism without a solution. Students are often quick to point out mistakes, but are not so quick to get involved in ASUA and clubs to help fix issues, Bruce said.

    “”All I can do is listen then,”” he said.

    Even with the seemingly ever-present naysayers, Bruce and Anderson realized that it’s about the people, not themselves.

    All it takes is one praising e-mail or a pat on the back from a fellow student to make personal downtrodden feelings disappear, Bruce said.

    “”I’ve always thought, it’s not worth doing it unless you’re doing it with and for people you care about,”” he said.

    Realizing her time as one of the leaders at the helm has passed, Anderson is moving on in her own way.

    The former VP recently gave a 29-page “”transition packet”” – all written by Anderson – to Emily Fritze, the new ASUA executive vice president.

    Fritze can search through the pages of information in the packet and will never come across angry phrases, bitterness or regret.

    “”I think there’s some things you would relish a little more, but regrets, no,”” Anderson said.

    Although he understands that mistakes have been made – just like in any government – Bruce said he does not believe in regret.

    “”Have I done everything right? No. But do I have regrets? No,”” he said. “”We did give our lives, for better or for worse. There is no question about commitment.””

    Looking back, it’s almost surreal how far Bruce and Anderson have come, they said.

    “”I don’t know how you prepare to be a public figure,”” Bruce said. “”There’s no question we’ve given our all.””

    Fresh off the former executives’ terms, a new crop of leadership has emerged with Fritze and Chris Nagata, the new ASUA president. Now that it’s “”their time”” Bruce and Anderson want to step back and let the new team forge their own path.

    “”Get excited for the future of ASUA and the university,”” Bruce said. “”We’ve enjoyed our exciting time.””

    Perhaps it’s not so difficult to imagine what was going through Bruce’s mind as he packed up his belongings on his final night in his office.

    “”You know, you work so hard,”” he said. “”You give your life to something … and it’s gone in a day.””

    Satisfied with the years and effort they have given the UA community, practically living in their offices on the third floor of the Student Union Memorial Center, Bruce and Anderson can finally catch up on some much-needed sleep.

    Maybe this time, they can actually do so in their respective bedrooms.

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