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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASA must increase recruitment

    The Arizona Students’ Association has officially kicked off its year. If you didn’t know, don’t worry — not too many other people noticed either. At its annual kickoff event, which is used largely as a recruitment event for the upcoming year, a reported 50 students showed up. Such a low total is disheartening when you consider all the tasks that ASA needs to accomplish.

    ASA is a self-described public university student-funded organization that “works to make sure that higher education in Arizona is affordable and accessible by advocating to elected officials and running issue campaigns to engage students.” But the actual follow-through and engaging of students are always difficult tasks.

    As a former ASA staff member myself, I know firsthand that sometimes students are just too disengaged and consumed with their own academic and personal lives to care.

    While this viewpoint is incredibly backwards, it still exists. Students struggle with realizing that their academic lives are directly impacted by the actions of state officials and outside entities like textbook publishing companies. ASA is supposed to be there to encourage students to recognize this reality and to take responsibility for it. It seems so very obvious but if you don’t stand up for yourself, nobody else will. Nobody is going to lobby for students if they don’t lobby for themselves.

    This is the point where ASA is supposed to come in. ASA is supposed to serve as the means through which students can lobby for themselves. Unfortunately though, ASA continues to struggle with getting students actively involved and having a deep influence on the university campus. The low turnout at the kickoff event is evidence of that.

    Year in and year out, ASA pushes the same topics and perhaps it’s hindering their ability to recruit. Voter registration and textbooks are consistently at the forefront. Come springtime, there’s Lobby Day, which is very exciting for interns as they get to interact face to face with elected officials. But all in all, it’s the same thing year after year with limited spikes in progress. Of course voter registration is important every election year, but where’s the progress in registration from year to year? Textbook prices are high, of course, but where’s the movement toward actually changing the way textbooks are handled? Tuition is going up, we all know that, but when will we see some solution to that other than getting upset about it?

    Again, the blame doesn’t rest wholly with ASA. There’s only so much you can do with limited interest from students. However, if ASA wants to continue its success and make greater steps than ever before, they’ve got to step up their recruitment efforts. There’s only so much interest to be generated from a small gathering in Old Main where the predominant expression of ideas is putting colored markers to butcher paper.

    The problem isn’t that ASA doesn’t work hard; it’s that it doesn’t have the man power to really get the gears turning. Here’s hoping ASA can recruit more aggressively to further its quest to represent the interests of students.

    — Storm Byrd is the Perspectives editor. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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