Submission: 2023 welcome letter from your ASUP president

By Kaya Olson | September 7, 2023 12:00pm

Photo courtesy of Kaya Olson.

Welcome, new and returning Pilots! My name is Kayako Olson, but most people call me Kaya. I am the new Associated Students of the University of Portland (ASUP) President and I am so excited to serve you this year. Every fall when I come back, the energy on campus gets more and more exciting as I notice the new traditions that have evolved since I first arrived, and how strong clubs and student organizations have become throughout the past three years.

Every year for me feels like a fresh start, but this year is special in a lot of ways. I’m so happy to welcome our new ASUP advisor, Elizabeth Parkman, who has been busy all summer getting ready for the upcoming year! She has already been so much help, and I am very grateful we have someone as kind and caring as Elizabeth to advise us. I am also happy to welcome Ellie Moore, the new program manager for student engagement. Thank you for coordinating an extremely successful Pilots After Dark Karaoke, and we look forward to all future events!

ASUP has a lot of work that we have already been getting started on this year, like continuing to be involved with the planning of the new Student Welcome and Engagement Center. After gifting $375,000 to fund this massive project, it is crucial for me to make sure that the student body’s voice is heard when planning this project. 

My ask to you all is that whether it is something as monumental as adding input to a whole new building on campus, or you want to critique the Commons food, that you will find your senators (or go to our website to fill out a constituent report form) to let your voice be heard! We are elected by you and we are here for you. I am hopeful that with increased communication between ASUP and the student body we will be able to serve you better.

I had the honor of meeting many class of 2027 students and their families. I can already tell that you will bring so much to the UP community just from your optimism and enthusiasm during this year’s orientation. I know you have already heard many words of wisdom from your families to your anchor workshop leaders, so I have total and complete faith that you got this!

To the class of 2026, after surviving your first year, I hope you feel like you have a newfound confidence going into this one. I hope you let your voice be heard and I look forward to the changes you will bring around campus.

To the class of 2025 (this was the class that I was a part of when I first arrived on campus after deferring my enrollment), now as upperclassmen in the UP community, you are role models to incoming pilots! Being freshmen who were the first to have an in-person college experience after quarantining, you have and will continue to set the tone of the campus climate. Good luck in your junior year!

Finally, to my fellow class of 2024 peers, it feels difficult for me to believe that this is our senior year. I have so much faith that we will be ending our college career on a high note after experiencing a slightly disappointing end to high school (shoutout 2020). However, I know we will make the most by showing up this year! Here’s to not having our graduation canceled due to a pandemic (knock on wood)!

Overall, I wish everyone a fulfilling, healthy and happy semester. Let’s go Pilots!

Kaya Olson is the ASUP president. She can be reached at

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