By Amanda Riddle
Arizona Summer Wildcat July 30, 1997
Davidson predicts school year to be one of 'learning' and 'challenges'For most students, the summer break is an opportunity to spend time outside the classroom and away from the usual university responsibilities. But not for everyone. Associated Students President Gilbert Davidson spoke with the Arizona Summer Wildcat about his first two months in office and his future ASUA goals.
Wildcat: You began your role as president May 1, after two years of ASUA senate experience. Is the office what you thought it would be like? What difficulties or challenges have you faced? What were you unprepared for?
Davidson: The office is a lot different than the legislative branch because there are so many more things to deal with. There are different university committees, meetings with the different administrators every other week and really addressing issues that are a lot broader. But I think coming from the legislative branch is giving me a better insight into how ASUA operates in a whole perspective.
The biggest challenge I have run across is that it is summer time and not every one is here.
What I didn't know are some of the broader things that impact the student body. I've spent hours and hours reading about what individual departments do and the impact they have.
Wildcat: Each ASUA president bring into the office his/her values and work ethic and this affects how ASUA operates. How have you changed the philosophy of ASUA? What values and work ethic do you bring into ASUA?
Davidson: I like to get feedback from all the different areas in ASUA and involve the legislative branch in a lot of the issues. I like having everybody being a part of what is going on. I have a very open door policy. But when it comes to making decisions, I am going to make a decision that I think is right. You have to have a balance and say we've talked about it enough; it's time to make a decision.
Wildcat: Last year, the primary focus of ASUA was the creation of a new constitution and the internal reconstruction due to the separation of part of the legislative branch, the Graduate and Professional Student Council, in October. Because these changes are now complete, do you feel you can be a more effective president than Rhonda Wilson because you are starting the year with a clean slate?
Davidson: It is all going to be a challenge this year because it is a new constitution. It is going to be a year of learning, and future years are going to have it much easier because this year is where they set the precedent. But it is going to be good for the school because we can really start to concentrate on our programs a lot more, like Escort Service, Speakers Board and our concert series.
Wildcat: What are the biggest and most important projects for ASUA?
Davidson: I think outreach to the students. By outreach I mean both social-wise through our concerts and our speakers to make the campus more of a whole, and recognition that ASUA is doing stuff. Also accountability. What is ASUA doing for you? They already have a couple more "Meet your Representatives" scheduled and a lot more people are going to be coming onto the (UA) Mall.
Wildcat: Wilson focused a lot of her administration on the Arizona Students Association (ASA). What are the personal projects and areas you want to focus on? Have you accomplished any of these projects since taking office two months ago?
Davidson: I think CATFEST '97 is going to start the year off really well and ASA is very important because we are going to be bringing the Arizona Legislature to UA. We will be registering students to vote in both the fall and spring semester and trying to be a resource to students.
CATFEST '97(scheduled for August 29) is well under way and we are already working on the ASA issues, such as setting up meetings and schedules. Everything is being laid out this summer so when the school year begins it's going to be a matter of completing the tasks that we started.
Wildcat: What areas on campus, which ASUA can affect, need improving?
Davidson: I have some major problems with Parking and Transportation (Services) with the fact that we are charged far more than ASU and NAU. You are never going to have enough space but why are we being charged quadruple the amount of what the other schools are as far as parking structures and surface lots.
I think we are going to finally have the Student Union resolved this year. The Student Union is in the stage where the students are going to have a huge role in the (fall) referendum. If the students don't pass that, its really going to limit what we're able to do with the new Student Union because the students are going to be responsible for a portion of the construction.