With an all-new school year comes a brand new ASBSU Executive Team. Considering the events and tensions of last semester, this year is looking to be just as, if not more eventful and challenging than the year previous, meaning newly-elected ASBSU President Sienna George, Vice President Gabe Payne and the rest of their executive staff certainly have their work cut out for them.
George sat down with The Arbiter to discuss these challenges and goals the ASBSU team is sure to face this upcoming semester. George placed emphasis on the importance of student voice, as well as students feeling safe on campus.
“We ran on the tagline that students are our greatest assets,” George said, referring to her and Payne’s campaign in the Spring 2017 semester. “There’s quite a bit of work we’re trying to do in terms of accountability and transparency. We’re working on a deliberation report for our exec team for this year”
According to George, this report would involve improving the lines of communication between the student body and the ASBSU executive team by keeping a detailed record of which way members voted during a discussion, and why. This is meant to more clearly show students the way by which their elected officials go about affecting change on campus.
“Student Assembly is also a way to do that,” George continued. “It’s a matter of actually bringing students to the people they need to talk to, not just us speaking on their behalf all the time. It’s calling them into that experience and allowing them to participate.”
Austin Henderson, ASBSU’s secretary of community relations, put forward his own thoughts on accomplishing meaninful change on campus.
“This year, we’re going to be more aggressive with amking sure that our voices are heard,” Henderson said. “There has been some hesitation in the past because we—ASBSU as a whole—were trying to bonify our relationship with the administration. Now, I think we’ve done that to the point that we don’t have to worry about that so much.”
ASBSU’s focus on safety also was prevalent, with this subject coming into prominence during the Spring 2017 semester, following the election of President Donald Trump and the small meeting of white nationalists on Boise State campus. These discussions of safety have continued to be a point of debate among students and faculty. For George, the feeling of safety among students plays a large role in their success.
“That’s at the top of the priority list for students this year. You’re not going to be successful in classes if you don’t even feel like you can show up,” George said. “I think of safety as a sense of belonging, a sense that you have relationships with people in which you have trust respect. Helping students find those communities and creating a dialogue that challenges the ways of speech or being that don’t always make students feel safe is incredibly important.”
George also noted discussions surrounding diversity and inclusion will also likely play a large role in the upcoming semester. To tackle these issues, George designated ASBSU’s plans to move forward with the creation of the Inclusive Excellent Student Council as a way to address these concerns.
According to Henderson, five students were appointed to the council at the end of May.
“I’m working directory with the council,” Henderson said. “That way, we’ll all hopefully be on the same wavelength. For both of us, it’s incredibly important that all voices be heard. In the past, it hasn’t always been that way.”