1. Zach Berger
By Mackenzie McDermott
Salt Lake City native and East High graduate Zach Berger will be the new president of Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU). Berger is an English major heading into his senior year.
After being involved in ASUU, Berger thought he could make positive changes to the organization, and he decided to run.
“I just noticed a lot of room for improvement,” Berger said. “I felt really tied to the university and I felt like ASUU can have a sort of disconnect with students, and that was something that I saw as a strong suit that I could bring to ASUU.”
Many of the skills that Berger felt qualified him for the presidency he learned through involvement with his fraternity, Sigma Chi.
“I think that the things that I gained from it, mostly, were dealing with difficult situations, and understanding people who come from totally different backgrounds.” Berger said. “It just helped me develop so much as a leader.”
Berger said his success is inspired by his mother.
“My mom is just extraordinarily impressive,” he said. “She serves on the presidential task force, right now, against sexual assault.”
Although Berger’s family has strong connections to the U, he said at first the U was just the school that made the most fiscal sense.
“I came to the U and it ended up being just the best experience ever, Berger said. “I honestly don’t think that I possibly could have had an experience nearly as good as this in any other university. I love it so much and really the way that I was able to do that was through getting involved.”
Berger’s friend and older brother, Nate Berger, studies finance and also attends the U and is a member of Sigma Chi.
“I love seeing Zach around — Zach’s Mr. Social Butterfly,” said Nate.
Nate thinks Zach will push ASUU to new heights by forming new connections with the students.
Nate said, “He’s very innovative, thinks of a lot of new ideas, and he’s pretty hard working when he puts his mind to something.”
2. Saeed Shihab
By Jordan Higgins
ASUU president-elect, Zach Berger, and vice president-elect of university relations, Zoe Kozlowski, approached Saeed Shihab last September to propose that they run for ASUU executive positions together.
“At first I was really hesitant because, number one, I wasn’t really familiar with ASUU, and also, I’ve heard kind of negative things about it in the years past,” recounted Shihab, who was skeptical of ASUU as an organization.
The more he learned about student government and its potential role on campus, however, the more he liked the idea of running for office with Berger and Kozlowski.He reflected on his own distrust of ASUU as he ran for office throughout this past year, which helped him focus on the real reason he wanted to run for office.
“If I won, I wanted to change people’s perception of this organization and make people realize what it is really meant for – to serve students,” recalled Shihab.
Shihab, who studies biomedical engineering, was elected vice president of student relations. He is working hard for a smooth transfer of power.
“It is a little hectic right now,” Shihab said. “The old officers are transitioning out, and then we are ushering in a new generation with us.”
For now, Shihab said he is focusing on assembling next year’s cabinet, “as well as talking with multiple student groups and other students” to get suggestions. He is gathering input to make sure his term is focused on the students.
“I would just want students to realize that this is a place for them,” Shihab explained. “This should be their second home. They should feel welcome and accepted.”
3. Zoe Kozlowski
By Ashley Baker
Zoe Kozlowski juggles her responsibilities as a full time student, employee and now ASUU Vice President of University Relations.
As a freshman, Kozlowski was eager to become inovolved in as many student groups and campus activities as she could. Once a writer for The Utah Daily Chronicle, student ambassador and advocate at the Center for Student Wellness, she can now be found spending her days in the ASUU office.
“I’m really busy, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else with my time,” Kozlowski said.
Kozlowski is a junior studying health, society and policy, and plans to apply for law school next year.
As VP of university relations, she aims to continue the progress that the outgoing administration made.
“The past administration has done so much for student groups,” Kozlowski said. “I hadn’t really felt the sense of community as I do now prior to the work they’ve done in things such as making the [ASUU] office more inviting.”
Along with her colleague Saeed Shihab, who is the new VP of student relations, Kozlowski will focus on increasing student safety.
“Our goal is to work with the administration to improve campus safety and one of the ways that we hope to do that is by making the [Presidential Task Force on Campus Safety] a permanent institution,” she said.
Kozlowski and other members of ASUU’s leadership aim to amplify the voices of the student body and student groups.
“I think that the student voice isn’t fully represented on many subjects,” Kozlowski said. “There needs to be more conversation on campus about safety and student involvement is a conduit for that change.”
The administration is working to implement a Risk Management Officer within every student group. Their role will be to support students as well as train and disseminate information to the organization.
“We have backing from administrative members, and that has been great,” Kozlowski said of the idea.
Kozlowski explained that had they won the election by a landslide, the succession would probably be less exhilarating for her.
“This transition has been the most exciting thing I’ve done in my college career,” Kozlowski said. “We only won by 19 votes, which could have been the last minute calls to friends.”
Kozlowski urge other students to participate in ASUU.
“I want people to know that they can come into the ASUU office anytime,” she said. “They can come meet with their student groups and even use the couches as a place to study between classes. We want to create an open, welcome feeling.”