As the 2022-23 academic year comes to a close, leaders in the U’s student body government, the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU), gathered with family and friends to reflect on the past year and to look towards the future.
The annual event is also a swearing-in ceremony for the incoming ASUU Presidency and their counterparts in the other three branches, who will govern their fellow students for the next 12 months.
During the event, Erica Andersen, the associate dean for Student Engagement & Leadership, provided a few words of wisdom for the incoming cohort of student leaders.
“A common thread unifies you all and that is a passion for serving your fellow students,” Andersen said. “Over the course of the next year, I want you to reflect on the things that unify you as a collaborative student body, rather than focus on your differences. I encourage you all to set an intention to work with one another during your most impressive and controversial moments because there will be some. And to value integrity as your leadership styles develop.”
Outgoing ASUU members of the executive branch, Taylor VanderToolen, president, Ashlee Roberts, vice president for Student Relations and Benvin Lozada, vice president for University Relations, had a clear vision during their time in office. It could be found on the ASUU homepage for all students to read. It said:
“We want every member of the University of Utah community to feel valued, appreciated, and comfortable for their authentic selves. We want members of our community to trust in the meaning of positive change and aim to create an inclusive environment that promotes belonging and encourages students to bring their own unique experiences and ideas to the table. We want student leaders to be empowered to work collaboratively with all campus stakeholders for positive innovation to benefit all members of our campus community.”
Reflecting on his time in office VanderToolen said, “it’s been an incredible roller coaster of a ride and I’m grateful for every up and down along the way. We had disagreements, we had achievements, and we bonded closer together throughout. To Ashlee and Benvin, you two are unequivocally the best vice presidents a president could have asked for. And this has been one of the best years of my life.”
Over the last year they accomplished the revitalization of a number of events that were impacted by the pandemic. They also created some new events they hope will last the test of time.
EVENTS & INITIATIVES
- Service and philanthropy projects
- Recycle Rice-Eccles
- The Conference on Diversity Excellence
- The Campus Cup and Get Out the Vote initiative for Utah voting
- Lunchbox concerts
- Film series
- The Student Leadership Council
- The student commission
- The homecoming dance
- Homecoming week
- Welcome week
- Stress-buster week
- Earth week
- The dive-in movie
- Large campus speaker events
- Homecoming royalty
- State of ASUU
- EDI book clubs
- The non-traditional idea pitch
- And The Grand Kerfuffle
- Friendsgiving for U with the student alumni board
- A large student tailgate
- The student outreach dinner
- Kite festivals
- Wellness Week
- And VanderToolen’s favorite…(whisper) ASUU ASMR
During the 2023 ASUU General Elections, 13% of the student body voted for the 2023-24 ASUU presidency, and representatives of their academic college in the legislative branch (assembly and senate). The O’Leary ticket won, receiving 40% of the vote. See the full 2023 list of election results here.
The O’Leary Ticket, now the 2023-24 student body presidency members are, Jack O’Leary, president, Chloe Shewell, vice president for University Relations, and Parker Madsen, vice president for Student Relations. Read more about them here.
The trio ran on a platform of affordability, accessibility and acceptance, with a mission to empower change and elevate the student experience. O’Leary believes that while the agenda for the year is ambitious, it’s also tangible.
“We want to work to meet the need of students, especially as we enter this next chapter as a university,” O’Leary said. “This year, we have the ability to create a more accepting and welcoming community, foster a culture of kindness and respect, ensure that every student feels supported and valued, and lead with civility.”
In addition to the new presidency, more than 40 individuals were sworn in as assembly, and senate representatives.
Students interested in participating in student government. There are a few vacant positions in both the senate and assembly, and the O’Leary administration is working to appointing student leaders who wish to serve in the executive Branch.
Now is a great time for students to consider applying for leadership opportunities in ASUU. To learn more, visit the ASUU website, or better yet, swing by their offices in the Student Union, room 234.