By Alistair Chapman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, August 26, 2004
The Associated Students of the University of Arizona has a rich history. For nearly 100 years, ASUA has provided programs and services for both undergraduate and graduate students.
This year, we have adopted several themes that have dominated our efforts. One such theme, which has already sparked excitement and interest, has been termed "Civic Engagement." There are three objectives central to the success of this theme: voter registration, education and voting.
Just last week, ASUA, in collaboration with Residence Life, completed its first registration drive, distributing nearly 6,000 voter registration forms to on-campus residents. This concept was also adopted by ASU and NAU. Before school even started, more than 18,000 voter registration forms were distributed at the three state universities. This represents one of the largest student-coordinated voter registration drives in the history of Arizona. Such efforts will continue through the beginning of October and will be capped with a "Rock the Vote" concert. This event has attracted a national recording artist who will be announced in a few weeks. In exchange for registering to vote, tickets will be free.
In an effort to educate students about issues and candidates, we have constructed a political speakers series. We have already secured numerous nationally recognized political figures, including Gov. Napolitano, who will speaking on Sept. 22. We also hope to provide live feeds of the presidential debates on campus. We anticipate that by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas, ASUA can be a catalyst for students to become politically engaged.
Students have the potential to be the most influential constituency in the state. This, of course, would only become reality if we vote. In order to provide greater accessibility to the polls, ASUA has submitted an official proposal to the Pima County Recorders' Office to institute a voter poll on campus. Campuses that have implemented such a plan have seen dramatic increases in student voting. We hope to do the same.
The year is certainly going to be an exciting one. Spring Fling plans are already underway, our Club Resource Center is proud to represent nearly 500 clubs and our nightly escort service, SafeRide, has expanded its fleet. Our student lobbyists have also been working hard creating legislative and regent agendas and are looking forward to continuing to represent all students.
Every student is a member of ASUA, and without your participation we are simply unsuccessful. Each year we involve thousands of volunteers in our planning and invite you to become part of our leadership. To get involved, fill out an online involvement submission (www.asua.arizona.edu).
We look forward to interacting with and serving all of you.
Alistair Chapman is a molecular and cellular biology senior and ASUA president. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.