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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA student union holds second public forum for director candidate

Kelsee Becker
Kelsee Becker / Arizona Daily Wildcat Joseph Pearson, currently Director of Morris University Center, is a candidate for the Arizona Student Unions Director. Pearson presents his past accomplishments and plans for UofA’s future to current employees of Student Affairs.

The second of three public forums regarding the position of Arizona Student Unions director was held at the Student Union Memorial Center Tuesday afternoon.

The search for a new director began last summer, following the retirement of the previous director. However, the search found no eligible candidates, according to Rafael A. Meza, assistant dean of undergraduate admissions and search committee chair. An outside firm was then brought in to help with the search for a new director. From the new search, six individuals had Skype interviews, and from that, three individuals were invited to campus to present at campus forums.

Joseph H. Pearson, the current director of the student union for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, opened the forum with his accomplishments at Edwardsville.

One of the accomplishments mentioned was the introduction of “Grills Gone Wild” to the Edwardsville campus, which is an outdoor grill station that was created to deal with long lines that would have resulted from construction delays on other dining facilities on campus.

“We couldn’t afford to have two of our units down for the fall semester; we had to come up with something to deal with the lines that we were going to have,” Pearson said. “So our idea was… we use equipment we already had [and] created a concept called Grills Gone Wild.”

Pearson then spoke about his ideas for the UA, which included food trucks, smart phone applications to order food in advance for pickup at the student union and bringing a bicycle shop into the union.

“I think this [food truck] is a good opportunity. Particularly in the climate here and the area on campus; food trucks can be successful,” Pearson said.

After Pearson covered his ideas for the UA were covered, the forum moved to a question and answer segment.

Todd Millay, marketing and communications manager for student affairs marketing, posed a question on the role of social media in marketing.

Pearson said that at Edwardsville, there is no longer solely a focus on traditional advertisements; there is now a greater use of social media in order to appeal to students.

“We were a little too aggressive on the front end,” Pearson said. “Everyone [student union services] had a Twitter account or Facebook account. Now we are trying to consolidate all of them into one so there is a consistent message coming out of the university.”

Pearson also stressed the importance of the student union on a college campus.

“My emphasis always been, the student union should be the center of campus life,” Pearson said. “And Arizona has a great opportunity to become that place where students gather … to enjoy the services and to have a great experience at the U of A.”

The next meeting for Arizona Student Unions director candidate Jason Tolliver will take place on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 3:30 in the Santa Rita Room.

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