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ASUA seeks to serve students

By Brett Erickson
Arizona Summer Wildcat
July 28, 1999
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Arizona Summer Wildcat

Cisco Aguilar, ASUA President

Arizona Summer Wildcat

Coming from the insular environment of high school, incoming freshmen may feel understandably overwhelmed on a campus with more than 34,000 students.

Getting students involved with the issues that directly and indirectly affect them is one of the primary goals of the university's student government, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA).

ASUA serves UA students on local, state and federal levels. Composed of both elected and volunteer staff, ASUA is responsible for several campus programs including Spring Fling, Associated Students with Disabilities and the Arizona Students Association.

Cisco Aguilar, an accounting and finance senior, was elected ASUA president by the student body in March. One of the main purposes of ASUA is to improve the quality of life for all students, he said.

"I've seen a lot of what ASUA can do and I want to see it reach its potential," said Aguilar, who has also served as executive vice president and senator.

UA President Peter Likins said ASUA simplifies his job by communicating to him the needs of the students.

"If there were no student government for me to talk to, I would have to guess what students feel, because it is not feasible for me to survey the whole student body every time I need to assess student opinion," Likins said in an e-mail interview.

One of Aguilar's primary goals is to establish a computer lease program for students, who would essentially be renting a computer from the university. Although the idea is still in the initial stages, Aguilar said students could possibly have the option to buy the unit upon completion of the lease.

This need is becoming more important as technology demands increase in the classroom, Aguilar said.

"I think this is a good opportunity for students to have the technology to complete their assignments," he said.

Aguilar said he has already received support from Dean of Students Melissa Vito. The next step is to meet with other campus administrators and UA Associated Students Bookstore Director Frank Farias to determine whether the bookstore would be willing to help pay for program.

Another objective Aguilar said he wants to accomplish is to establish a student section at UA home basketball games. Grouping the students together to create more of a homecourt advantage is something that several people have approached him about, Aguilar said.

"It is my responsibility to address these issues, or at least get discussion going so future leaders can successfully address them," he said.

Student apathy is another issue on Aguilar's and ASUA officials' agendas.

Nicole Panada, a communication senior, said she thinks students elected to serve on ASUA have good intentions, but often forget their campaign promises.

"I really don't know that much about them, but I think sometimes it can seem that they're not very interested in what students want," Panada said.

Aguilar said apathy toward ASUA is not a new problem. ASUA officials have been active in freshman orientation to help new students better understand their role on campus. Aguilar said he also plans to visit many of the clubs on campus to find out how he can improve campus life.

Aguilar said although freshmen might not have a firm knowledge of how the campus operates, they can still get involved with ASUA. Being a volunteer for one of the organization's services is a good way to learn the system, he said.

"You have to know the operation of something before you can run for president," Aguilar said.

One of ASUA's most utilized services is the Escort Service, which provides transportation for students during the evening hours.

ASUA also oversees Spring Fling - the largest student-run carnival in the nation. During the four day event, the UA Mall is transformed into a fairground complete with roller coasters and game booths.

Besides president, the other elected positions within ASUA are executive vice president, administrative vice president and 10 senators. Elections are held every March.