Reimherr: Know where your student fees go

By By Rita Totten, Staff Writer

By Rita Totten, Staff Writer

Students gathered to enjoy a free lunch and learn about student government at the State of the ASUU address Wednesday.

Directors from the 16 Associated Students of the University of Utah boards presented to students what the boards had accomplished so far and what they were working on for the rest of the school year.

“We want students to know where their money is going and have the opportunity to raise questions and concerns,” said Patrick Reimherr, ASUU president.

In the past, the State of the ASUU address has been held in the evening, with very little turnout from students, Reimherr said.

“We changed the format this year to during the daytime and (provided) lunch to students,” he said.

Free T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts and footballs were given away throughout the event and lists of board members’ contact information were available at every table. Students interested in becoming involved were encouraged to fill out an ASUU interest form.

Madson Thompson, director of the academic affairs board, said his board has matched more than 100 students to committees this year alone. The board also worked during the summer and fall to train student adviser committees. For the first time, electrical engineering now has a student advisory committee representative, said Thompson.

Senior Class President Madison Warren, who works with both the freshman and senior councils, said both of her councils worked with other student groups to host the homecoming dance and homecoming week activities. The pep rally and songfest had record attendance, Warren said.

Freshman Council’s new project this year is a Freshman Finals Relief day, hosted in part by the Union Programming Center, to help freshmen handle stress during Finals Week. The senior class gift, a bike rental program on campus, is another project the Senior Council is working on, Warren said.

ASUU Vice President Jon Hayes said they are working to allocate scholarships for students to study abroad from money received from the study abroad student fee, which was initiated in 2007. The fee is $3 dollars, which U administration matches with $1. So far this year, seven $2,000 scholarships have been awarded, Hayes said.

Renee Pitt, an undecided senior, said she attended the address because she saw the sign for free lunch as she walked to class. However, she said she did learn something while at the event.

“I didn’t know about Rock the U and I work at the Huntsman (Cancer) Center,” Pitt said. She was also interested in the student advocacy committee, which provides confidential support to students on issues such as grades, housing and legal matters.

Pitt said she would like to see ASUU do more to advertise its events.

“I had seen the ASUU logo but didn’t know what it really did,” she said.

Last to address those in attendance was Reimherr, who said he was using the State of the ASUU as a way to gain feedback from students.

He said his primary goal for the next five months is sustainability and he plans on working closely with the sustainability board.

The civic engagement corequisite, which failed in an ASUU Senate Committee last week despite Reimherr’s lobbying during the past couple of months, was also brought up and he told students this was a “positive, necessary addition to campus curriculum.”

Yevengeniya Kopeleva, ASUU chief of staff, planned the event.

“I believe State of ASUU is essential in not only informing the student body of all the great things happening within student government and across campus, but it’s also a unique opportunity for students to ask questions, voice their opinions, meet their leaders and let us know what we can do for them,” Kopeleva said.

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