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Student Government President Elect Q and A

July 24, 2018

Five students will soon represent their peers as their campus president for student government.

Student life spoke with President Elects Michelle Sullivan Govani (GPSA), Aly Perkins (Downtown Phoenix), Allison Sorgeloos (Tempe), Daniel Pasco (Polytechnic) and Alexander Haw (West) to talk about what they have planned for the upcoming 2018–19 school year.

What ideas and plans do you have for the upcoming year?

Govani: I’d like to steer [all of the momentum that we’ve had in the past year] into advocacy. How can we get more students engaged? How can we be a better voice and have more voices heard?

The other thing I would like to see is continuing our improvement with recognition from the administration in the newly formed graduate council, so that will be formed over the summer. All the program heads will be a part of it. It’s a way for us to advocate for our worker conditions. The last thing I’m really looking at for all of Council of Presidents, not just GPSA, is our conversation around sexual assault awareness and prevention.

Michelle Sullivan Govani

I think that if we understand and open up the conversation to understand that it applies to how we succeed in academics, how we feel comfortable and succeed in the workplace, and even how we feel comfortable and succeed in our home life, if we see that it’s impacting all of those areas and not just our wellness, then I think we’re going to have a different conversation, and maybe more students are going to feel comfortable reporting or coming forward.

Perkins: I really want to increase student engagement on campus. I want to make sure that students are interacting with student organizations, and with each other, and getting the professional opportunities that they’re seeking at ASU.

Sorgeloos: There’s definitely a lot going on. The platform we ran on was entirely around the idea of student connection, so getting students connected to other students, their community, their university.

Pasco: My main priority is going to be transparency of our mandatory student fees. It’s important for them to know what they’re paying for and the quality of service that’s associated with that.

Alexander Haw

Haw: I have a bunch of physical health activities lined up for the upcoming school year. We have a presidential fitness challenge, so we’re going to incentivise a lot of ASU West students to come challenge a president as well as vice president — learn about physical health as well as mental health.

What student life and cultural activities do you have planned?

Govani: We’re looking to do a survey at the beginning of fall to get better data on what students are looking for in their programming. Just making sure that our programming is actually stuff that’s helping graduate students where they’re at right now in their current day to day lives.

We have a lot of diversity in a lot of different ways in graduate students and professional students at ASU. One thing that we did this past year that will be continuing in the future is we had a women’s leadership mixer. I’ll be hiring a Director of International Affairs.

Perkins: I think one of our most popular events that we plan on continuing to do is Taylor Fest. I think that is a really integral event at the beginning of the year, because especially freshman students who come from all over the country, and sometimes other countries, come to ASU for the first time, and they really want to know what types of resources are out there.

Aly Perkins

One thing that we really want to focus on this year is creating a branch of the Black African Coalition on the downtown campus. Additionally my Vice President of Policy was Treasurer of the Women’s Coalition last semester, so I know she’s trying to bring Women’s Coalition to downtown.

Sorgeloos: We have the traditional events that we have every year at Arizona State. That’s the Spring Involvement Fair, Passport to ASU in the fall.

We’re really excited about pushing out initiatives within Undergraduate Student Government that really allow students to connect with us.

USG is very supportive of diversity and inclusion on campus. We’re very fortunate to have such a diverse campus that has pieces of infrastructure that are already supporting culture and engagement on campus such as our wonderful Council of Coalitions as well as the entire Student and Cultural Engagement Office that hosts different things like heritage months or culture weeks.

USG has some really awesome traditional programming such as National Voter Registration Day that we’re really, really excited about continuing into the next year, and just really getting students civically engaged.

Pasco: Student engagement is a really important part on all four of our campuses. One of the things I really want to work on at the Polytechnic campus is game day.

Daniel Pasco

One thing that I’m bringing new to the Polytechnic campus this year is I just hired a Director of Diversity and Inclusion. She is going to be excellent working with the Council of Coalitions trying to bring them onto the Polytechnic campus more. There’s going to be a lot of programming that we haven’t really done in the past.

We’re planning a big event called Night of Inclusion. We’re going to bring in some performers and a lot of student groups like Council of Coalitions together in all one big night to bring everyone together so that everyone feels included.

Haw: We’re going to have a specific focus of the events, so if they’re a specific ethnic minority group such as Black Student Union or Asian Pacific American Studies, we’re going to make sure that coalitions provide the necessary support.

Why did you run, and how do you plan to help students succeed?

Govani: I became more and more passionate about GPSA being a voice for graduate students. We’re very well known as a place for graduate students to come and get research funding, travel funding, child care support, to come for socials, to come for professional development. Through my work with External Affairs, which oversees the advocacy branch, I thought of a lot of ways we could collaborate across departments, and have more attention to that, and work harder and better for graduate students, and also have them lend their voices to our advocacy, so that we can work with them, too.

Perkins: I’ve been in USGD for about a little over a year. I really enjoyed meeting people, and learning about where they wanted to go, where they came from, and also what problems they experienced at ASU.

One of our big jobs is informing students of resources, whether that’d be like health resources, academic resources.

I know that Jackson had recently talked about a new app called ASU Achievement, and essentially that app would help connect you to Blackboard and help keep track of whether or not you’ve been attending classes.

Sorgeloos: I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be a senator for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Within the Teachers College we are taught how to advocate for our students, but more importantly how to teach our students how to advocate for themselves.

Allison Sorgeloos

We have a variety of different platforms that support the Sun Devil experience, whether that’s improving mental health outcomes for students, providing opportunities for clubs and organizations to have greater success on campus, or just increasing the overall spirit of pride and tradition to the university.

Pasco: I see where we’re doing really good things, but I can also see where we can improve on a lot of our student services, and a lot of the outreach that our student government does to our student body.

A lot of focus was on the face to face interaction with our student body.

A lot of it is going to be based off of our general outreach that’s going to be consistent from day one. If students don’t know what we’re doing, they’re not going to be able to take advantage of all the opportunities that we’re going to offer them.

Within the budget specifically for the Polytechnic campus, it’s going to be a lot more comprehensive this year. It’s going to help fund a lot of our different organizations that maybe didn’t get consistent funding before. We’re going to work with them and collaborate properly.

Haw: Ever since middle school, if I saw a problem within my community, I wanted to fix that. Part of my platform, why I ran was I was very passionate about mental health and physical health.

We actually have a lot of resources we’re bringing from Tempe all the way to West campus, so students don’t have to take the bus all the way to Tempe to get all of the resources that should be available to them at West campus.