Submission from the ASUP president: Welcome to an exciting year ahead, together

By Nick Owen | September 3, 2019 7:58pm
Nick Owen, ASUP president. Photo courtesy of Nick Owen.

Our campus is bounding into one of the most exciting and memorable times of the year. Students have filled the dorms all across campus, and their enthusiastic presence gifts them with the familiar feeling of home. Spectators cheering at soccer games fill the Friday night air with the kind of spirit only sport brings out. Class schedules are fresh, and meal plans seem limitless. New and returning members of our community alike brim with the energy that defines us as Pilots. For many of us, we may be returning to The Bluff full of a reinvigorated spirit. We commit to new study habits, we branch out to new clubs or responsibilities, we embrace opportunities to radiate waves of change across UP. 

Others may be entering their final year here on The Bluff with a bittersweet inspiration — seeking to make this “one last ride” unforgettable. Perhaps that means exploring still unfamiliar opportunities, like finally going on an excursion with Outdoor Pursuits or attending an orchestra concert. Most recently, the newest members of our community are joining the walk from the dorm to the Pilot House; the first all-nighter of the year; the thundering cheers at Merlo Field; and the proud tradition of an action-driven, hope-filled campus. Whatever your status upon arriving to The Bluff, we are all arriving home.

It’s a true privilege and heartfelt honor to serve as your president of the Associated Students of the University of Portland this year, and to welcome you to campus. I’m eager to get to know you this year, learn what inspires you and your interests, and work together to continue to improve our university. As a student at the University of Portland, each of you individually adds an inimitable layer to our mosaic of community — crafted by our values and cultivated by our actions. By undertaking that mission as a Pilot, you take on a vital charge: to assert your voice, to stand up for justice and peace, to take ownership of your experience, and to embrace your agency. 

ASUP is every student at UP. Our steadfast goal is to empower students to work together and with their representatives for a brighter campus – a process dependent on the collaboration of all students, elected and otherwise. Your presence as a student makes your interests, goals, struggles, and ideas exactly the kind of contributions we desire for our academic and spiritual community of scholars and servants. To borrow from Drake: “We’re here for a good time, not a long time.” The time we share together at the University of Portland is too brief — and affords far too many opportunities — for us to settle for anything less than a better campus, a better community, and a better experience.

We are leaping once more into a season of renewal and resolve. Students of all backgrounds, classes, and majors share an animated energy when we come together — one that brings out the best in us and calls us to act. This year will bring exciting opportunities, experiences, and challenges that will shape your memory of college at UP. Meet these with the same energy that permeates the first weeks of the year. Seeking to discover not only what we can receive, but what we can give to others is what defines our student body. I challenge you to invest in that ideal — to take on its identity and commitments. Let this be the year we dedicate ourselves to making UP the home we want it to be.

As the semester propels onward — as the rigor of our classes mounts and our routines and busy schedules crystalize — seek your own answers to these questions: How will you make this your home? How will you invest in our community and act on your values? How will you take ownership of this special time and allow it to transform how you think, act and feel? I and everyone working within ASUP are honored to strive to represent your interests, advocate for your needs, and improve our shared experience on The Bluff. As we encounter this thrilling new year, I urge you to take part in that process actively rather than wait for change to come. Know the greatest truth you can embrace at the University of Portland is this:

You are a student. You have a voice. Make it known.

Thrilled for an exciting year ahead, I am delighted and proud to say now: Welcome home!

Nick Owen is the president of the Associated Students of the University of Portland. He can be reached at