New leadership has been chosen for the Associated Students of the University of Utah. Jack O’Leary will serve as president in the coming 2023-2024 school year, with support from Vice President for University Relations Chloe Shewell and Vice President for Student Relations Parker Madsen.
The trio ran on a platform of affordability, accessibility and acceptance. They are hoping in the coming year to get more students involved in student government and understand what student government can do for them. “We want ASUU to be a place where students go if they want to get involved on campus,” said O’Leary. “We want them to know that we are here for student club funding, if they need to find academic resources or if they need an advocate.”
“I want to make sure students are having their voices heard,” said Madsen. “I’m willing to take every measure that’s necessary to make sure that those in charge are hearing the concerns of the student body.”
There are lots of everyday issues that face students at the U, and the newly elected officials say they will be working with President Taylor Randall and the administration to address them. They especially want to be involved in shaping the student experience as the community expands. “We really need to think about smart growth,” O’Leary said. “That includes things like safety, parking, revamping the scholarship dashboard to make it more accessible and making sure housing on campus is affordable.”
Safety is a very important issue to Shewell. As a student-athlete who takes classes early in the morning and later in the day, she wants to make sure everyone feels secure when moving about campus. “I want to increase lighting around campus,” she said. “I also want to look at making SafeRide more accessible by expanding hours and the area it covers.”
Parking on campus is an issue that many past ASUU leaders have said they will address. For their part, O’Leary’s and his team want to work with Commuter Services to possibly create more U after 3 p.m. spaces, revamp the ticketing systems and increase overall capacity. They also want to find a way to show students where parking is still available. “The most innovative thing we’d like to do is design a live parking system that allows students can go online and see which lots are full,” he said. “We also want to make it easier for students to figure out public transit options which will eliminate the need to park.”
“The parking issue is just wasting students time, and it also has an environmental component because they’re either idling in their car while they wait for a spot to open up or they’re just driving around,” said Madsen. “While we were tabling, almost every single student I talked to told me that the thing that they dislike the most about the university is the parking situation.”
O’Leary said he and the VPs look forward to getting to work and want to represent all students on campus. “Every student voice matters,” he said. “That is the whole purpose of student government; to support you and be there for you as a student.”
Shewell added, “I’m so excited to step into this role, and I am so thankful that the student body elected us and so ready to improve campus for the entire student body.