Everyone knows what student government is: a group of students that meet regularly and are supposed to advocate for the rights and needs for the whole student body. In some high schools, student government might not have been as prevalent in making actionable change.
But we’re in college now and there are responsibilities that need to be upheld and taken seriously.
The Associated Students of the University of Portland (ASUP) determines the allocation of funds between clubs, plans student activities, passes resolutions that affect the student body and facilitates dialogue between students and administration.
If we look at the beginning of fall semester up until now, there have only been three resolutions passed — all correlating to how ASUP functions, which makes it seem like they aren’t doing much to help the student body.
In past years, they have advocated for LGBTQ+ students during turbulent times, passed a resolution to get free menstrual products on campus and strived to foster an environment that included Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts.
The impact they have on matters directly related to the UP community can be far more influential than any other student organization on campus. But those resolutions were only possible because the student body used their voice to advocate for change.
When looking at their website, it’s difficult to decipher which links work, what’s up to date and what their goals are — making student government feel inaccessible to students. But if you go to their meetings in Shiley (room 301), you’d hear what they have to say.
ASUP should have an active presence on campus by being more transparent with the changes they are trying to implement and showing up and having conversations with the community outside of those meetings.
They can do this by creating a better way to keep students informed on what they are doing, letting students know where their meetings are and keeping their website up to date.
According to the ASUP website, “ASUP exists to provide an organization that represents the needs and interests of students, to develop extracurricular activities and to foster the recognition of students’ rights and responsibilities.”
The burden also falls on students to participate in student government. ASUP can’t advocate for a silent student body.
As students, and as journalists, it’s important to hold our government — even at a micro-level — accountable when we feel like they aren’t meeting our needs or aren’t adequately representing the student body.
However, ASUP can only function effectively as a bridge between administration and the student body if both sides are actively participating in conversations about how to make real change at UP.
Does ASUP reflect your values?
Do you see yourself represented in the senate?
Do you think there is a change that needs to be made at the school?
Is there a problem that hasn’t been addressed?
If not, ASUP applications are currently open and close on Sunday, Feb. 26.
Change can only be made if we mobilize as a community, and while it doesn’t happen overnight, it’s important to start advocating now. There is so much untapped potential that ASUP holds over the administration.
**Correction applications the previous version said Friday, Feb 25. ASUP applications close on Sunday, Feb. 26.**
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