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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA ends year with love

    ASUA Administrative Vice President Jen Dang, center, laughs along with President Tommy Bruce and A-Town director Geni Flagello to remarks during ASUAs last meeting of the year.
    ASUA Administrative Vice President Jen Dang, center, laughs along with President Tommy Bruce and A-Town director Geni Flagello to remarks during ASUA’s last meeting of the year.

    ASUA’s “”soiled reputation”” from previous years forced its Senate to go beyond university expectations this year to actually become a student-focused organization, rather than a scandalous one, Sen. Dustin Cox said yesterday.

    “”Voices that weren’t heard in the past were heard this year,”” he said. “”We’ve grown leaps and bounds.””

    The agenda was thin for the final Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate meeting of the school year.

    Senators instead reflected on personal friendships and an increased level of student advocacy on campus.

    Wildcat World Fair, UA Pride Alliance, A-Town and the Women’s Resource Center are just a few organizations and events that received additional ASUA support this year, said Sen. Seema Patel.

    “”We’ve represented new ideas,”” she said.

    Patel read from a prepared statement, addressing the senators and executives individually on their strengths and character.

    “”I could never ask for a better Senate family than the one I got this year,”” she said. “”You have all made me think, made me mad, but most of all, you all made me grow.””

    Patel commended Sen. Jared Cohen on his ability to put complex problems into simple perspectives and called him “”a real voice of the students.””

    Cohen’s advocacy of the student population would not have been possible without the cooperation of the rest of the senate working toward the same goal, Cohen said.

    “”I’ve learned a lot,”” he said. “”And I’ve grown a lot over the past year.””

    ASUA has successfully spent the past year restoring its reputation from previous student government controversies, said executive vice president Jessica Anderson.

    Anderson cited the controversy surrounding David Reece as harmful to ASUA’s reputation. Reece resigned as executive vice president Feb. 21, 2007, after being accused of falsifying clubs to funnel money to ASUA candidates during the election season.

    He attributed his resignation to wanting to spend more time with his grandmother, as well as his opposition to use club funding for the pro-choice group Medical Students for Choice and a UA production of “”The Vagina Monologues.””

    Three weeks after Reece’s resignation, seven of the 10 members on the Appropriations Board, which allocates money for club activities, resigned as well, citing changes in ASUA bylaws that limited the authority of Appropriations Board decisions.

    ASUA cannot afford to become too satisfied with what it has accomplished, said Sen. Mark Copoulos, adding there are still lessons that must be passed down to and missions continued by next year’s senators.

    New senators and executives will be inaugurated today at noon at the Old Main fountain.

    “”I have to say that I’m just overwhelmed at how far we’ve come and the potential we still have within ASUA,”” Copoulos said. “”That’s my challenge to the senators next year.””

    ASUA should be expected to gain new ground each year, a responsibility that should lie with the Senate, said Sen. Ezekiel Gebrekidane, who joined the governing body a month ago following James Pennington-McQueen’s resignation.

    “”It’s about giving back without strings attached,”” Gebrekidane said. “”Wherever you go in life, make sure you leave it better than you found it.””

    Cox also passed words of advice onto the senators-elect in the audience. Despite what others may say, true character lies in doing what you believe to be right, Cox said.

    “”Sometimes this is a thankless job, and you’ll take some heat,”” he said. “”We’ve set the bar high for you.””

    The success of next year’s senate will rely on senators’ efforts toward ASUA and the organizations’ causes, a lesson senators-elects already know because of their relationships with ASUA following the general election, Anderson said.

    “”Effort comes from a sense of commitment,”” she said. “”If you want to have a memorable year, you need time and commitment.””

    Although ASUA is thought of as a business organization, the personal relationships that develop with other members and the student population are what make the job so rewarding, said Sen. Jason Ernst.

    “”I thought that this was going to be a bittersweet goodbye,”” he said. “”But the only sweet thing about it is the memories.””

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