By Aidan Regan
With the start of the semester, ASUPS is particularly busy. Right now, each ASUPS Senator is working on a project. “Every single one…represents some kind of a demonstrated need [on] campus,” Senate Chair Kyle Chong said. “The senate is…working around the clock to make sure it can do the work for the student body,” he continued.
Of the Senate’s projects, several seek to bridge the gap between the rest of the student body and its leadership in ASUPS. “We want to let students know that we’re actually here,” Senator Chuck Bjork said. “We can help you…with concerns or ideas [of how]…to change this school.”
Bjork and Senator Daniel Post are working together to bring back ASUPS’ defunct Student Concerns Committee. According to Chong, ASUPS got rid of the committee when they created the Director of Student Interests cabinet position.
The Student Concerns Committee (whose name may change) will consist of the two senators and five students who are not senate members. They will meet about twice a month to put forward ideas of how campus can change for the better. “This committee…gets to the very core of what ASUPS is presumably for: representing the students and campus community as best as possible,” Post said.
Bjork and Post are considering putting a mailbox in the Wheelock Student Center where students can submit ideas and concerns. Students will also be able to submit online.
As an example, Post explained how some universities have subsidized vouchers for students to use Lyft or Uber. “That’s a good example of something that, if we could pull it off, would directly affect students,” he said.
“This idea of student concerns will reach really far,” Post continued. “The rest of this year and into next year there will be some steady progress.”
Bjork and Post envision the committee and the Director of Student Interests, Peyton Anstine, working hand in hand to hear student voices. Chong envisions healthy competition. “We should compete with ASUPS execs in terms of solving the student body’s problems…having multiple outlets is really important,” he said. “It allows for innovation.”
Other senators are working to connect with the student body too. Senator Rachel Greiner’s project is a “Humans of New York” style campaign. It will familiarize the campus community with ASUPS leadership.
Greiner said that it will include “small snapshots of things happening in ASUPS…in the legislative branch mostly.” Alongside their photo, senators will describe their position, their typical day, the projects they’re working on, and how people can get involved. ASUPS will publish the snapshots online and in The Trail.
“As a senator I see a lot of things happening that other people don’t have time to see,” Greiner said. “Ideally we’d be a mechanism for people to know what’s happening without having to go out of their way.”
“[Greiner] identifying the problem that senate communications and outreach is lacking is actually very energizing for the senate,” Chong said . “The student body can’t be served if they don’t know they’re being served.”
Senators Justin Loye, Katie Handick, and Jordan Taylor are working to let students know from the start with orientation reform. Their project will give orientation an emphasis on student government and civic engagement, mental health and sustainability.
“I am so proud of the work they’ve done…they’ve been so audacious,” Chong said. “[Their] project is meant specifically to…make sure that ASUPS can be the pinnacle of the students’ tool belt.”
“ASUPS exists in order to further the student agenda and better the student experience,” Chong added. Each of these senators’ projects seeks to expand that ability.