With Associated Students of the University of Portland (ASUP) elections open on engage, The Beacon asked all seven candidates running for executive board positions three questions for the student body to get to know them:
What in your background makes you the best candidate for this position? Name specific accomplishments that demonstrate you are the best candidate.
What are the three top actionable goals you would try to accomplish if elected to this office? (Avoid common generalities such as "improve communication with the administration." Specifically, what actions would you initiate to improve the lives of students at UP?)
In what specific ways could the ASUP Executive Board and Senate improve in representing and advocating for students better than it has in the past?
Below are their responses.
Position: ASUP President
Emma Fuller, junior (she/her)
I have been in ASUP since my freshman year of college. I have served one year as ASUP President and am excited for the opportunity to serve another year. I have built strong relationships with key stakeholders that I know will allow my voice to be taken seriously and give me a seat at the table. Also, by serving on ASUP for three years, I am knowledgeable about how the senate works and what improvements can be made. In addition, I have many contacts that can help the incoming senators.
Throughout this year, some very clear issues have arisen. With the new school President coming in, I see a window of opportunity to fight for change. It is the perfect time for a renewed commitment, where diversity groups can meet with the president on a personal level and express the needs of students. A common theme that I have picked up on from many students, especially those in leadership positions representing diversity groups, is the lack of consistency between what administration says and what they prioritize. Time and again we hear that they care about an issue, yet there is no institutional evidence that aligns with their words. We cannot continue relying on students to take on the responsibility of being the only resource on campus for minority groups. Lastly, for the senate, I want to prioritize continuity. Every year, we get a group of motivated and passionate student leaders wanting to make changes with no prior context of past accomplishments or projects. My goal is for each group of senators to pick up where the last group left off, as it will be more efficient and lead to a better chance of accomplishing our goals.
I would love to see more members of ASUP build relationships with administration. A lot of the time, ASUP officers have great and innovative ideas on improving UP, yet they do not know who to talk to. Building a trusting relationship and continued dialogue with key stakeholders allows stakeholders to have a better idea of what the students’ needs and priorities are.
Position: ASUP Vice President
Megan Meckey, junior (she/her)
I have been a part of ASUP for three years now. I joined my Freshman year by serving on the sustainability and social responsibility committee and Sophomore year I served on the Infrastructure Committee. This year as a Junior, I served as a Business Senator. This past semester I worked closely with Dean DeVaughn, of the Pamplin School of Business on working on brainstorming creative ways to communicate with students to ensure transparency from administration down to students. I organized a town hall for students in the PSOB to talk about different issues they may see and possible solutions as well.
My first goal is to create more efficient and effective forms of communication from administration to students. Something Dean DeVaughn and I worked on this past semester was to come up with ways to make sure students feel as though they have all current information without being flooded with information all the time. Working on creative ways to communicate with students is one of my goals to ensure transparency from administration down to students. My second goal is to continue working on DEI initiatives. Cultivating a safe space with a strong sense of community is at the heart of this goal and I want each student to feel as though they belong. My goal is to work with senators and the service directors to look at the recently released DEI report of UP and find where we see ASUP can fill a needed gap aUP. ASUP historically picks up work the administration fails to do, and I want to make sure we continue this work. My third goal is to be an approachable face on campus that is easy to talk to. I want students to feel comfortable coming to my office hours or messaging me on Instagram about questions or concerns they may have. Accessibility is important to me, and I want all students to feel as though they have all the resources they need to be successful at UP.
Something I think the Executive Board and the Senate can do is be more intentional about bringing in students from all schools, clubs, and every corner of campus into what we do. We are a body that is meant to represent every student at our school and by inviting clubs to meetings that may be interesting to them or talking to students during office hours to get ideas and opinions on how we should go about something such as, ASUP spending is a great way to make students feel as though they matter and belong at UP.
Position: Campus Program Board Director
Jessica Yoshioka, junior (she/her)
In my first year at UP, I was on the general board of CPB. From this, I can understand from the perspective of new incoming students into the community. I was a Special Events Coordinator for two years. The first year was online where I coordinated virtual escape rooms which allowed students to sign up with friends. This year I worked on events such as Riverboat with a record-breaking attendance of 2000 students in the first two hours and the winter event, A Not So Silent Night. I took the lead role in coming up with the two main attractions at these events, the bubble machine and the ice-skating rink.
I want to create opportunities to work with clubs and other organizations on campus. I would work on more in-person outreach with clubs by going to a variety of general board meetings. I want to improve the communication with CPB leadership and the student body. I believe that CPB’s purpose as an organization is to create events for the student body. With this in mind, I hope to have easy access to forms and surveys (available platforms it can be posted on is email, posters, social media, or engage). Students will be able to input their ideas if they do not have the opportunity to go to a general board meeting and also they will be able to have a voice on how they felt about a specific event. I hope to bring more visibility to all the student body of the opportunities of activities, events, and giveaways CPB has to offer the student body with marketing verbally and through social media.
With more opportunities for students to communicate to CPB leadership through forms and surveys, CPB will be able to understand the student body and create events according to the changing University of Portland community each year. Also, with more student involvement, I strive to create, it will increase student attendance and strengthen the University of Portland community.
Brooke Majerus, junior (she/her)
I have been involved in CPB since my first year at UP. My time as a volunteer for the first year allowed me to experience what goes into the planning and execution of every event CPB puts on. As a Special Events Coordinator, I have been able to help plan events such as Riverboat, where we had just about the same student turnout as the last Riverboat in half the time. I also have experience as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee my second year, giving me experience working with administration and advocating for the student body.
I want to establish clear communication between CPB and administration regarding the importance of large on and off-campus events for the student experience. I want to advocate for more student input outside of CPB leadership to be heard during the planning process of events to ensure events are catered to all of the student body. Finally, I want to further collaborate with other clubs on campus, much like we did for the RTB artist announcement, so more students are aware of events and possibly feel more comfortable attending.
I feel that while the ASUP Executive Board and Senate have made efforts regarding students coming into office hours to communicate what they want to see action on, there is more to be done. Finding more opportunities for town halls or more surveys to be sent out for students who may not feel as comfortable meeting in person. Given a chance, more students will give student representatives details on what they think needs to be changed or brought to more students or administration's attention.
Position: ASUP Director of Communications
Karen Kim, junior (she/they)
I have had many excellent opportunities working in multiple places throughout my three years at the University of Portland. In my second year, I was the School of Education Senator, and while serving this position, I was a part of multiple committees from Clark Library Advisory Committee, Curricular and Academic Regulations, and Diversity and Social Responsibility Committee. In my third year, I was the Activities Fair Coordinator, a Pilots after Dark Coordinator, and an Office Assistant at the Office of Student Activities. From my work so far, I have single handedly coordinated school wide events open to everyone from start to finish, communicated effectively to 100+ organizations and clubs, and more.
ASUP should have diverse leaders, which will allow for different viewpoints to be expressed in a well-rounded environment. Although ASUP can seem intimidating, I want to make sure that students can voice their concerns, opinions, and questions. In addition, I want to make sure that everyone knows what UP offers regarding mental health, like the Health and Counseling Center. Last but least, communication is crucial, and it is vital to be as transparent as possible. As a result, it will lead to authentic relationships, which is essential as the Director of Communications communicates between the student body, staff, ASUP, and more.
ASUP has improved; however, some improvements can be made. One way is by making sure that the student body knows who their representatives are. Many students in the past have told me that they don't know who their class senators or school senator(s) are. Another way ASUP can improve is by creating inclusive and safe spaces, which allow students to voice their opinions, concerns, and questions. Although the Executive Board and Senate have weekly meetings where they can speak about what their constituents have said, there are times where inviting them to speak at the meetings can create a more significant impact.
Kianna Storm, sophomore (she/her)
As the current treasurer of Active Minds I have experience in an executive position. This role requires me to be in communication with ASUP, other clubs, and students. I have been able to understand the importance of communication and transparency both in my role as treasurer and being a student. Additionally as a student that came in during the beginning of the pandemic when everything was closed I know how hard it can be to feel connected and so my aim is make it easier for students to get involved and have the necessary information to feel supported.
My first goal is to build better relationships between ASUP and the student body by hosting an informal event where students can get to know their senators and exec board. Another goal of mine is to host events between schools. Many students have a minor or second major that is in a different school so it’s really important to bring schools together for students to get to know the deans, professors, and other students. Finally I want to get students more involved either through polling, social media, or discussions.
I think a lot of what we have been seeing recently is that UP is not doing enough to support minority communities, LGBTQ communities, and mental health. While ASUP alone cannot solve all these problems it can take greater action to make sure students, staff, and faculty not only seem supported but feel supported. This can be done through talks with the administration, legislation, and events sponsored by ASUP. I think it’s to recognize which voices are easily overlooked by UP and then ASUP can work to uplift their voices so that we have a more inclusive community.
Position: Director of Finance
Graham Finch, junior (he/him)
On campus, I am the senator for the Pamplin School of Business, a member of the Financial Management Board, a Student Ambassador, and a Tour Guide. As a current member of the Financial Management Board, I have gained the experience and the know-how to be able to navigate any issues that may come along during my time as director. I have made budgetary adjustments, met with club members to address their concerns regarding funding, and worked to ensure that clubs have a robust enough budget to be able to operate.
As director, I will work to ensure that the budgeting and reimbursement process is as pain free as possible for club treasurers by being highly communicative, transparent, and clear about all processes. Along with being keenly focused on transparency, I will do everything in my power to ensure that clubs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to receive the necessary funding to host great events. I also plan on expanding the role of the Financial Management Board members to be a more year-long role in an effort to decrease the time in which reimbursements are submitted.
As Director of Finance, I will be chiefly focused on making sure that clubs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to receive the necessary funding. Also, I will work to ensure that the future Financial Management Board is representative of the overall student body, containing students of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
William Seekamp is the News and Managing Editor of The Beacon. He can be reached at Seekamp22@up.edu.