Let ASUU leaders know what you expect from them

Well, it’s that time of year again. Spring rolls in, and with the warmer weather come speeches, debates and posters galore. Yes, it’s time for elections in ASUU, and it’s also time for students at the U to let their student government know what they want.

ASUU stands for Associated Students of the University of Utah. Not many people at the U seem to know this, but when you become a student here, you become a member of ASUU. However, not many people here even know what ASUU does.

The purpose of ASUU is to provide for the general welfare of U students; to represent students and initiate action upon issues arising in the U community; to ensure student participation on the academic and administrative policy-making levels of the U; to provide education, cultural, social and service activities for students; to assess the ASUU fees; to provide monetary support for student activity groups; to provide coordination for student organizations and activities; to provide communication between students, administration and faculty; and to provide for participation and involvement in community affairs.

The biggest complaint leveled against ASUU is consistently about what they’re doing with our money. Every year, ASUU controls a budget of more than 1 million dollars, and yet a lot of students here don’t seem to like or even know what’s being done with it. Is this ASUU’s fault? Partly. ASUU should definitely be making more frequent and more detailed updates on what exactly is being done with the budget. If it had to answer to the students on a consistent basis, ASUU would probably be more fiscally conservative. Additionally, students would probably be more understanding about expenditures because they could see how it was benefiting them.

However, the main culprit in this situation is not ASUU-it’s the average student. The reason our student body is clueless about the function and form of ASUU is because no one really makes the effort to understand what’s going on. Evidence of this fact is the consistently low voter turnout during elections. Voter turnout is very important. I hear students complain all the time about how ASUU doesn’t really represent them. However, if you aren’t even going to make the effort to vote, why should ASUU bother trying to please you?

ASUU is responsible for numerous programs and events at the U. It is in charge of helping to fund student groups. Without fail, I hear people complain about how they want change in ASUU and how it’s never going to happen. Well, maybe not. However, it’s ridiculous to expect change when your officials don’t even know you want it. The students running ASUU are exactly like you and me: They can’t read your mind. They don’t know what you want unless you tell them. Don’t complain about what the officers of ASUU do or don’t do if you don’t make an effort to communicate with them.

ASUU hopefuls have been making the rounds for a month now, asking various students and student groups what they want out of ASUU. These candidates want your ideas, your input and your feedback. A friend of mine recently made a suggestion to a particular candidate. The next week, when that candidate’s party came to speak at a meeting, her idea was incorporated into the speech.

Some people would argue that they don’t vote because they aren’t well-enough informed to make a good decision. However, with all the debates scheduled during the next two weeks, the Web sites being put together and the fliers being handed out on campus, how could you not know what these people are trying to accomplish? They’ve made their best effort to reach you in the past, and they’ll keep trying through the rest of these elections. It’s up to students at the U to make the extra step and go find out what these candidates are all about.

There are six parties in this elections race. Time will only tell which candidates are best-suited to leading this school for the next year. Regardless of who wins, however, everyone will benefit if ASUU knows what students want from it and students are involved enough to know what ASUU is doing.

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