Rising to the Occasion: ASUPS’ Vision for a Better Future

Kevoni Neely ('25) (left) and Sofia Calcagno ('26) (right) are set to become ASUPS new President and Vice President respectively. Photo Credit: Kevoni Neely, used with permission

Jack Leal

Post-election, our current Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS) members have been working hard in order to create a healthy transition for our new leaders.  As the current administration comes to a close, they now pass the torch to our upcoming ASUPS President Kevoni Neely (25’) and Vice President Sofia Calcagno (26’).

  Neely is an African American studies major with a crime, law, and justice minor. During her first three years as a Logger, Neely has held multiple student leadership roles. She served as a member of the ASUPS cabinet both as deputy and director of equity, inclusion, and justice and then as vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Alpha Phi. She told the Trail, “I have always known I wanted to be a part of ASUPS since I first stepped foot on campus, and being president was always my end goal.” 

  From a teamwork standpoint, Neely is optimistic about her partnership with Calcagno. Neely was Calcagno’s orientation leader her freshman year and soon became part of the same sorority. “My vice president Sofia Calcagno and I complement each other in so many ways, and I know that we’re going to do great in these roles,” Neely said.

  Neely expressed how she wants to “make students more involved in decisions that will affect their community and educational environments.” Her administration will take on some of the persistent key issues that have challenged ASUPS in recent years.

 Post-pandemic, discussion persists as to how ASUPS’s club management should be run. ASUPS operations coordinator Robin Breedlove explained that their systems’ “foibles have been laid bare.” They’re trying to resolve “many long-recognized weaknesses in our systems,” she said. Some of these hurdles pertain to ASUPS’ relationship with the University’s Office of Finance; as previously reported, these two bodies have struggled to complete their financial responsibilities on time due to the complexity of the process. Breedlove says navigating this financial code is complicated, but these controls “exist to protect all student funds and ensure that we operate with appropriate oversight.”

  In light of grappling with these issues, Kevoni plans to “make sure that student voices are not only heard but acknowledged.” She understands the current problems ASUPS is facing and that “it can be hard on campus when you feel like you are reaching out for help, but no one is responding, so I want to make sure students feel comfortable to reach out and action is being taken.”

  Another complication has to do with ASUPS’s  methods of communication with transferring paychecks and club funds within the student body, especially regarding security protocols and contract verification. Breedlove says, “Unfortunately, these security protocols take time and do not function quickly for students in the new age of Venmo, Zelle, and crowd-sourcing like GoFundMe.” 

 Neely expressed that her top priority is “communication with students!” She said, “many students do not even know ASUPS exists or what we do, and I want to change that.” 

  Despite previous blips in communication this semester caused by overdue changes to outdated systems, ASUPS’s  actions toward rebranding and reestablishing trust within our community have been taken due to the elbow grease of our current ASUPS staff. Breedlove is proud of the current team and says, “Current leadership raised their collective hands to volunteer and ran for office when nobody would step forward.” 

  Some tangible examples of these actions include ASUPS progress in getting media contracts ready to delegate money to their rightful recipients; proposing new changes to the ASUPS constitution in hopes of approval from the Board of Trustees; and Breedlove conducting an interview with key member of the Office of Finance, Camille Wheels, who’s in charge of the ASUPS budget analysis