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The Daily Wildcat

 

Past ASUA heads greet Allen

Emily Fritze, seated left, and Danile Frost, 89, seated right, the oldest living former ASUA president, meet with other former ASUA presidents and president elect James Allen outside Pasco Kitchen & Lounge on University Boulevard Friday to welcome Allen as incoming president.
Emily Fritze, seated left, and Danile Frost, 89, seated right, the oldest living former ASUA president, meet with other former ASUA presidents and president elect James Allen outside Pasco Kitchen & Lounge on University Boulevard Friday to welcome Allen as incoming president.

Past ASUA presidents from as far back as the 1940s welcomed president-elect James Allen to the position at an organization dinner on Friday night.

Ten past presidents and current President Emily Fritze shared advice with Allen over food at Pasco Kitchen and Lounge on University Boulevard. Allen was named the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s new president after winning the special election on Thursday night.

The gathering of past presidents was a long-time tradition that fizzled out in the 1980s, according to Benjamin W. Graff, who was ASUA President from 2000 to 2001 and organized the event. The dinner was revived two years ago.

The event aims to prepare the president-elect for the position and allow past presidents to share their experiences.

“”There’s a lot of tradition in the position,”” Graff said. “”They kind of start to realize the importance and know they have a support network.””

Allen said he was happy to meet with the past presidents after a long election process.

“”I feel great,”” he said. “”It’s a huge honor being amongst peers and this support network.””

Allen said he hoped to apply the “”wealth of knowledge”” of past presidents to his own term.

“”You hear good war stories and the ups and downs,”” he said. “”It’s really great hearing all of that before you make your own decisions. Hopefully, you can achieve success and avoid failure.””

Presidents reminisced about the changes in the university since their terms.

Graff shared the stories of anti-sweatshop protests during his presidency when students put U-Locks around their necks and marched outside the Administration building. He said the highlights of his term included holding the first online ASUA election and improving the student advising system.

“”The position is only a year, but it can affect the campus for the next 50 years,”” Graff said. “”Don’t be afraid to start something you can’t finish for five years.””

Maintaining relationships outside of ASUA helps presidents keep their perspectives, said Derek Lewis, ASUA president from 1993 to 1994.

“”This job really buries people,”” he said. “”People can put in 50 or 60 hours a week. Make sure you remind yourself you’re still a student.””

The oldest living past ASUA president also attended the event. Daniel Frost, 89, was president from 1943 to 1944 during World War II.

“”I actually went overseas for my presidency,”” Frost said. “”I was a fake.””

Patrick Mitchell, ASUA president from 1976 to 1977, said the Arizona Students’ Association was established during his time in student government. He said organizing a successful Fleetwood Mac concert was a highlight of his term.

Mitchell said he was president during a dynamic time on campus after the Vietnam War and during the women’s rights movement. The position was a formative time in his life that contributed to later success in law and politics, he said.

“”You learn a lot of rules of the road,”” Mitchell said. “”And, frankly, it was a heck of a lot of fun.””

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