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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ASUA officials pass the torch

    Sheldon Smith/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

ASUA Inauguration on the west side of Old Main building on Friday afternoon, May 1, 2009.
    Sheldon Smith
    Sheldon Smith/ Arizona Daily Wildcat ASUA Inauguration on the west side of Old Main building on Friday afternoon, May 1, 2009.

    Chris Nagata stepped into his new office Friday and hugged his mom while the rest of his family trailed not far behind.

    “”I’m just overwhelmed,”” said the newly-inaugurated president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. “”It feels a little surreal.””

    Just 15 minutes earlier, Nagata, his two fellow executives and 10 senate members took their oaths of office to officially become ASUA’s new elected officials for the next year.

    It is the first time in two years that the student government has seen a shift in its top two positions, as outgoing President Tommy Bruce held the same position for the last two years, along with outgoing Executive Vice President Jessica Anderson.

    The office now occupied by ASUA’s new leadership had been inhabited by Bruce mere hours before the inauguration. The two-term president had plenty of time to reflect on his university career as he packed up his belongings well into the night.

    For an official known for his outspoken nature and frequent speeches at ASUA meetings, Bruce was noticeably quiet on the impression he was leaving behind.

    “”It’s for the students to decide our legacy,”” said Bruce, who will graduate this month. “”I can only imagine what great legacy (the new executives) will have.””

    As for Anderson, the outgoing executive vice president spent each night leading up to the inauguration in her office until 4 a.m., finishing her executive duties, she said.

    Anderson’s sunglasses may have hidden her eyes at the inauguration, but the outgoing executive’s shaky voice showed her emotions.

    “”It’s a very emotional momentð – very emotional,”” Anderson said. “”But it’s a perfectly natural progression.””

    Both of the new top ASUA executives grew their student government careers from the tutelage of Bruce and Anderson – Nagata as an Arizona Students Association board member and Executive Vice President Emily Fritze as a senator.

    Although they acknowledge the effects the outgoing executives have had on the organization, Nagata and Fritze said they are looking to put their own stamps on their executive terms.

    “”They’ve established a legacy over two years; they’re the model for excellence,”” Nagata said.

    One of Nagata’s plans is to make student government more approachable and transparent for the university community, he said.

    “”We don’t have a purpose without students … I will always keep them at the forefront of our decisions,”” Nagata said. “”I don’t want students to feel like we’re not approachable. It’s a difficult task.””

    In order for ASUA to follow through on promises of increased transparency, elected officials and members alike must take active roles, rather than waiting for students to come to them, Fritze said.

    “”Outreach goes hand-in-hand with transparency. It’s partially how we act on a day-to-day basis,”” she said. “”It’s very hard to change the mentality of the university … It’s really exciting to finally get started right away.””

    ASUA Elected Officials 2009 – ’10

    Chris Nagata – President

    Emily Fritze – Executive Vice President

    Gabriella Ziccarelli – Administrative Vice President

    Eduardo Atjian III – Senator

    Sarah Bratt – Senator

    James Brooks – Senator

    Hillary Davidson – Senator

    Tyler Quillin – Senator

    Ryan Ruiz – Senator

    Daniel Wallace – Senator

    Stephen Wallace – Senator

    Katherine Weingartner – Senator

    Leo Yamaguchi – Senator

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