You may recognize their campaigns. You may know their platforms. But who are the members of this year’s ASUP executive board?
Senior Sitara Nath and Senior Michael Gallagher — who ran with the platform “Engagement, Inclusivity, and Transparency” — are this year’s ASUP president and vice president.
Senior Brandon Wester is this year’s director of finance. Wester hopes to use his platform to improve student financial literacy and create more transparency in ASUP and UP’s spending.
As this year’s director of communications, Senior Kathleen Burks manages outward communication between the ASUP governing body, ASUP and faculty and staff of the University of Portland.
Junior Brady Boos, speaker of the Senate, supervises all Senate meetings and works with the vice president to appoint all senate members to a standing committee.
The Beacon sat down with the executive board to find out who they are beyond their platforms and titles, and to learn more about their experiences as UP students:
What is your favorite memory from freshman year?
Boos: My favorite memory from freshman year was joining the ultimate frisbee team. It was a really supportive environment to be in and let me escape the daily grind of school work.
Burks: I really enjoyed Riverboat the first time with my roommates. We were kind of unsure how we were gonna vibe together, but we ended up getting along really well and enjoyed that whole orientation experience together.
Sullivan: My favorite memory is when I gave a speech in public speaking about giving public speeches.
How have you changed from freshman year to now?
Gallagher: I think I’ve had the biggest growth in my academic career. I’ve learned so much and I’ve been able to apply what I know from my major in biology to see how it reaches social justice or economics and these different fields that all blend together in the real world.
Nath: I have changed so dramatically. I’ve become way more outspoken. I’ve had great professors that challenged me to speak my mind.
Wester: I think I’m a lot more dedicated to not only what I’m passionate about, but anything I take on. I think I’ve also changed to be more social and put myself out there a little more.
What is the best class you’ve taken at UP so far?
Burks: I really enjoyed my Cultural Diversity and Cultural Competence class with Professor Gates. It was really interesting because it talked about the intersectionality between race, ethnicity, culture, religion and different identities.
Sullivan: Painting II with Father Mark. My favorite painting that I did was of my house in space, and my housemates and I were astronauts floating around it. It’s hanging in our house right now.
Wester: classes have been my favorites. We traveled and got to try new things, and I could really be creative and dive deep into new ideas. We also went to Stockholm and Amsterdam and I got to meet some amazing people and saw a whole different way of life.
What dorm(s) did you live in and what are your favorite memories from the dorms?
Gallagher: I was in Schoenfeldt my first year and half and moved to Shipstad my second semester of sophomore year. One of the cool things that I did in Schoenfeldt was I started a tradition on Sunday nights where we would go to Father Gerry’s apartment and bake cookies and then everyone would come over and eat the cookies and play board games and hang out. Getting that started was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done because it was just so organic and then it just became a weekly thing.
Nath: I’ve lived in the dorms my whole time at UP. I lived in Fields my freshman year, Kenna my sophomore and junior year and I’m in Hag Ty this year. One of my favorite memories is just staying up late with other people in the dorm and hanging out in the lobby, especially Kenna. I remember the first time I pulled an all-nighter, I made a bunch of friends because we were all just sitting in the lobby during dead week studying and bonding and it was just a really special time where we were all struggling together.
Wester: I was in Shipstad my first two years. The RA’s were always amazing and the community was just awesome. You knew everyone in Shipstad so you immediately had a really big group of friends and a community that supported you.
What is your favorite food on campus?
Boos: I’m all about chicken and rice. At The Commons, I would always get chicken from the grill, veggies from the pasta station and rice from the soup station and make my own meal. That’s how I’ve stayed healthy in my first 2 years.
Burks: I loved getting breakfast tacos on the weekends. They would make my whole day.
Sullivan: I remember at one point The Commons had baked mac and cheese. It was so good!
What are your goals for ASUP this year?
Burks: The first thing I want to do is make sure that people know who we are, what we are, what we do and how we can help students. The next thing is being visible on campus so students can feel comfortable coming to us, letting us know the things they want to see on campus and telling us about the issues that are important to them and how we can communicate that to the administration.
Gallagher: Sitara and I have a lot of goals together and we’re pretty collaborative in how we want to work. On the most basic level, I want ASUP to a) be more transparent, b) help encourage engagement in scholarly activities and fun activities and, lastly, I want to help shape the future of UP to be better-suited for more diversity and to help students at UP be more culturally-aware and culturally-competent so they’re more educated for the real world when they graduate.
Wester: One of my goals is putting together a report that really breaks down where students’ tuition is going. I think if students had some information about where their money was going, they might be able to help guide the conversation to make UP a better place where it’s working for the students.
What is your favorite song of the summer?
Boos: I’ve been really into Síguelo Bailando by Ozuna. I heard it when I studied abroad in Spain.
Gallagher: I love music! The summer anthem that I’ve been telling my friends is Nice for What by Drake. It’s such a good bop, definitely the summer anthem for sure.
Nath: I’m a big rock fan. I went to a Foreigner concert because I love them, so it’s probably Juke Box Hero by Foreigner.
If you could choose an actor to play you in a movie about your life, who would you choose and why?
Boos: Let’s go with Matthew Perry, but like the Friends Matthew Perry. I think he’s just a goofball and funny, but at the end he shows this completely different side that we didn’t see which is his love for Monica. I think that demonstration of love is something that everyone should be able to portray towards everything in their life.
Nath: Mindy Kaling! First of all, there’s not a lot of representation of Indian women in Hollywood, so she’s one of the primary ones that I look to for inspiration. She also speaks to a lot of my experiences in a really meaningful and accurate way. She’s also hilarious and I love her.
Sullivan: Michael Cera! He’s so awkward and I resonate with that.
Brigid Lowney is the Living Section Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.