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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ASA names aid, textbook prices among year’s goals

Zachary+Vito%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0AASA+chariman+Dan+Fitzgibbon+and+freshman+Ryan+Weaver+discuss+ways+to+improve+student+voting+on+campus+at+an+ASA+meeting+in+Old+main+on+Tuesday%2C+Sept.+20.
Zachary Vito
Zachary Vito/ Arizona Daily Wildcat ASA chariman Dan Fitzgibbon and freshman Ryan Weaver discuss ways to improve student voting on campus at an ASA meeting in Old main on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Addressing the cost of higher education and encouraging UA students to vote are the Arizona Students’ Association’s main goals this year.

The organization outlined its initiatives and recruited members at a kickoff Tuesday night. About 50 students attended the event, which was held in Old Main.

The association, a non-partisan advocacy group made up of students from Arizona’s three universities, lobbies at the state and federal level on issues affecting students. Main initiatives for this year include addressing the total cost of attending the university, textbook prices, financial aid and creating a student voting initiative.

Collaboration between students and by student organizations can produce change, said James Allen, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. He said people at the event are responsible for using their voices to create change at the university.

“When that voice is well researched, well prepared and passionate, it makes a difference,” Allen said.

ASA represents more than 130,000 students in Arizona’s three universities. This enormity gives students influence over legislators, said Ariel Molk, a director for the organization.

“We have a lot of power that you don’t realize,” she said.

At the kickoff, Molk presented background information on the goals of the organization and its recent accomplishments. Last year, ASA helped pass a common course numbering bill as well as worked to protect Federal Pell Grant funding.

“We can organize around any issue that’s important to students,” Molk said.

Event attendees split into small groups based on numbered name tags to discuss the four main initiatives for this year. They then brainstormed strategies to raise awareness in the student body.

Tressa Points, a freshman studying pre-pharmacy and math, proposed creating a chalk mural on the UA Mall where people could write how much they spent on textbooks.

“That way you can see the actual number that each student’s spending,” Points said. “People will remember that more than just talking to people.”

Students were then asked if they were interested in joining statewide committees on the issues.

Points, who heard about the event through Facebook, said she is now interested in joining the ASA.

“It was mainly the fact that you really can change things by being part of something so big,” Points said. “I (previously) didn’t understand how much ASA has an impact on each student individually.”

The organization seems to make a tangible difference compared to some high school student governments, Points said.

“Here, you actually have a voice,” she said.

Public health junior Erica Aguirre attended the event after seeing a flier advertising it. She said she was most interested in the ability to speak to legislators through ASA.

“I didn’t realize how much power the organization had,” Aguirre said. “With all of the opportunities, it seems like it really opens doors.”

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