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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


ASUA president passes the torch

Brandi Walker

Issac Ortega, a senior studying business and managerial economics, poses in front of Old Main. Ortega served as Associated Students of the University of Arizona president for the 2014-2015 school year and will be graduating in just a few days.

Current Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Issac Ortega has lived in Tucson his entire life. He attended Pueblo Magnet High School. Ortega is a first generation college student, member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and senior graduating with a business economics degree from the Eller College of Management.

“Being able to take this role and fight for students every day has been an absolute honor,” Ortega said. “It’s been amazing, and I’ve loved it.”

Daily Wildcat: How did you first get involved in ASUA?

Ortega: I got involved in ASUA by applying to Freshman Class Council, and I didn’t think I was going to get in, to be honest. That’s [how I] got introduced. Then, I was treasurer, so I got [to] manage the … $1.6 million that we get for ASUA, which is really, really awesome. Then, I just decided to take the leap of faith and go for [ASUA president].

How has it been being ASUA president?

Probably the greatest experience I could have ever asked for. … You wake up and go to school and classes and stuff, but the added responsibility of going to meetings, where sometimes I’m the only student voice that is there, and I know that we make decisions on campus every single day that affect thousands and thousands of students.

What would you say your greatest accomplishment has been?

The fact that now, even in a year where we had $28 million cut from the University of Arizona, which usually means huge tuition increases, we’re allowing students to go back and re-enroll in guaranteed tuition at last year’s rate.

How has your experience in Greek Life been?

My experience there has been great, living in our fraternity house and getting to know some phenomenal gentlemen who are going to do some really amazing stuff down the road.

Out of your whole ASUA presidency, what was your most profound moment that will always be with you?

One of the coolest things I got to do was go back to my high school. We only had probably 20 people who came to the university from our high school, and I got to go back and give early acceptance letters to the students there and MC this huge pep rally. There were families crying, because they were so proud of their sons and daughters — and just to be there and be the person to hand out the letters, I think, was the thing I’ll always remember.

How has it been passing the torch to Manny Felix?

It’s been fun, only because I remember how nervous I was when I first started. Manny will do great. I have a lot of faith in him that he’ll do just as great as I did or even better.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to be graduating and moving to San Francisco. I’ll be working for Accenture Consulting in their strategy division.

What do you want to be when you grow up — your end goal?

My ultimate end goal is to have some sort of nonprofit that helps students in education, because I think that’s the one thing that’s changed my life.

What has been the most challenging moment throughout your four years?

It would probably have to be running in the election, only because it wasn’t a moment, it was more like four months.

What’s your favorite place on campus and why?

Old Main, just because I’m a sucker for history and traditions that we have here at the University of Arizona. I don’t think any building captures that like Old Main does. It’s so awesome.

What have you been up to the last couple of weeks?

I got to go [to] Washington, D.C. to [lobby] on behalf of both university and Greek Life students all across the [nation] on multiple issues. It was very, very awesome to just meet members of Congress and then sit down with us and take our words of advice as students. The other cool thing that happened the last few weeks was working with our regents and members across the state to encourage them to allow [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals]-approved youth, which are DREAMers, to get in-state tuition.

How was balancing school and being so involved?

It was tough. This role is like a full-time job, like, 40 hours a week, and you put in a lot of hard work. It’s that age-old [adage], like, if I’m not busy, then I won’t get anything done.

Anything you’d like to say to your fellow graduates?

Congrats! Wish you all the best and hope you never forget the amazing experience you have had here at the University of Arizona.


Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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