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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Members of ASUA should work to represent all students

    The start of a new school year means student leaders have a renewed opportunity to make a difference on campus. This year’s administration and Senate must take the positions they hold seriously. Success is not measured by the fact that you were elected or appointed to office. Rather, it is the positive work completed while in office that is the real victory.

    As a member of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona cabinet last year, I’d like to believe that we actually carried out some good work. We brought students to breakfasts with President Ann Weaver Hart, created a sounding board for academic policy and gave $3,000 in scholarships to outstanding students. I know that it is possible for student government to actually enhance the state of students on campus.

    However, positions are often used as lines on resumes. This is not a new problem. Last year, I saw plenty of misguided pride placed in the official titles ASUA members held. Frankly, this problem is not exclusive to student government either.

    After spending three months in Washington D.C. this summer surrounded by members of Congress, it was evident that many of our elected officials define victory as the ability to be elected to an office and remain there. Our federal government suffers from the same arrogance that paralyzes any true reformer wanting to make a positive change for our nation.

    To have a truly successful and productive student government, ASUA needs to remember that it is their duty to represent the entire student body.

    We attend a university with an undergraduate enrollment of 31,565 students. A dismal 4,320 students, or roughly 13 percent, voted in the last election. In the previous election for Mayor of Tucson, 31.1 percent of registered voters came out to vote. In the 2012 presidential election, the turnout was 53.6 percent.

    I know how hard these elected officials worked on their campaigns, but 13 percent is a fraction of our student population. There is a reason the overwhelming majority of students are not voting: they do not have faith in ASUA to truly represent them. Jon Anderson, a senior studying economics, said he doesn’t feel ASUA is able to make true change.

    “I don’t doubt that students in ASUA are motivated to get things done, that’s not disputed. But the system around them, the framework they work in, doesn’t allow them to get real, actual change pushed through.”

    This is the same frustration that many Americans have expressed with Congress. ASUA should take time this year to rebuild that trust and represent 100 percent of our students, not just the 13 percent that turned out to vote.

    ASUA President Morgan Abraham said he has been working to create external affairs department within the organization, which specifically designed to reach out to students.

    “We’re going to do a lot more work with polls and surveys, and things like that. And on top of that, we are going to a lot more clubs, greek, and any organization to kind of see what we’re doing wrong,” Abraham said.

    We all want ASUA to succeed, and I hope that this year our student government can do so. However, our elected officials need to forget about their titles. We don’t care about the office you hold, we care about what you can do to represent our needs and create a more prosperous campus environment.

    Anthony Carli is a senior studying political science. Follow him at Twitter.com/@acarli10.

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