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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: With all the recent fuss over their elections, why should students even care about ASUA?

When I first heard that it was election season for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

The spring semester is a busy time for the UA’s student government. The primary elections took place mid-February and the general election concluded March 2.

In addition to election excitement, ASUA was recently involved with adjusting the proposal from Arizona Athletics to impose a $200 athletics fee on UA students.

Despite the current buzz, I still struggle to find substantial reasons to care about the happenings of ASUA.

I’ve never felt a strong presence of student government in my life at the UA. I walk to class, take notes during lectures and sometimes eat at the Student Union Memorial Center. These on-campus routines are completed without a thought about what our student body president might be doing for me. I can’t imagine how my routine or my ability to earn my degree is affected by what ASUA does.

It’s difficult to put effort into something that doesn’t seem to make a difference in my life. In a day in the life of the average Wildcat, it appears that student government doesn’t play a huge role.

But after doing a little more research, I may have changed my tune.

While ASUA may not have its name explicitly plastered all over campus, it seems its influence does have a notable range. Programs and services such as ASUA SafeRide, University Emergency Medical Services, Spring Fling, ASUA Pride Alliance, Family Weekend and more are under the supervision of our student government.

Couple those programs with the influence over issues such as the aforementioned athletics fee and it becomes harder to claim ASUA doesn’t matter. It seems that a good chunk of ASUA’s activity tends to the well-being and happiness of the UA student body.

Even with that consideration in mind, however, ASUA does not affect the average student on a daily basis. While it’s good that students have opportunities for involvement and easy access to transportation and medical attention thanks to ASUA, its work does not affect the overall experience of students at the university.

Furthermore, it’s hard to see how any one candidate will make a bigger difference than another. No matter who gets elected, ASUA’s power is still limited. While it can advocate for certain items and issues, it cannot single-handedly bring changes to fruition.

As wonderful as it would be to attend a university that promotes diversity, equality and happiness for everyone while operating at an affordable cost to students, there are simply too many other factors to consider. No one person or organization has the power to bring about the kind of change that would shift the identity of this university. It’s great to see candidates taking admirable stances, but real change is going to take more than that.

I was initially skeptical of ASUA and the reach of the organization, but after learning more about the group, I’ve gained a newfound respect for the organization and the programs and services it’s implemented over the years. Nevertheless, student government does not play an integral role in my education. I couldn’t find it in me to take interest and vote in the election.

Follow Rhiannon Bauer on Twitter.

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