Before the beginning of each fall semester, the employees of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada are required to participate in a five-hour long training day. Including covering policies and team building exercises, Executive Director of ASUN Sandy Rodriguez always gives a speech about ASUN’s purpose and mission.
“ASUN is designed to build leaders,” she said a couple of years ago.
Words like this really resonate with the students, because it’s true. The senate, executive board, student media and all other personnel of ASUN are students that have made an active attempt to broaden the scope of their education at UNR. By putting themselves in decision-heavy positions, the experience they gain in the Center for Student Engagement is a quality way to prep the future leaders of our world.
Well, the world isn’t always such a nice place, and neither is every work environment. Along with the opportunity to lead comes the opportunity to fail. These positions are often heavily scrutinized from every branch, right down to this publication. However, it may be the senate and executive board of ASUN that gets hit the hardest.
Many students may be unaware of the open meetings of the senate that take place every Wednesday during the semester. It is rare to see an overcrowded room full of eager and caring students who take advantage of the opportunity to voice their opinions. Most, however, are quick to open their mouths in passing, while not actually contributing in any effective way to the students they elected into office to represent them as a body and entrust with major decisions.
Sometimes the decisions they make aren’t always right, successful or agreeable by all parties involved. ASUN has encountered many speed bumps this semester internally. Recently there have been several, including alleged forgery of ASUN President Ziad Rashdan’s name on a memo, as well as Sigma Phi Epsilon’s continuing debate with clubs and orgs while maintaining members of the senate in their fraternity. Most notably, the motion to impeach ASUN Vice President Elliot Malin, which states that he was not fulfilling his job description properly. The motion has since been removed from the senate’s agenda.
The objective is not to point out personal flaws, because we all have them, and The Nevada Sagebrush holds no viable grounds to judge the hard working members of the senate. However, this semester has seen a noticeable shakiness in the foundations of the senate, often with daily new problems ranging in size and scope.
In a way, we have somewhat benefited from these happenings. Because the senate has striven to be more transparent than ever, it’s not uncommon to see multiple members of ASUN gracing The Sagebrush offices regularly in an effort to keep open lines of communication with the publication. It hasn’t always been easy, and the conversations not always pleasant; but they’ve been happening, and that is definitely a great point to be at.
However, why should we get down on ASUN for all of their shortcomings? They’re just as frequent as everyone else’s in this world, including ours, and it can’t be easy trying to maintain grades and a high position on this campus. They have the guts to do what many on this campus don’t: step up and give it a try. Last time I checked, there’s no harm in that.
When Sandy Rodriguez says that ASUN breeds leaders, it’s true — and that is apparent in nothing more than failure. Often times, the senate and ASUN in general get upset with The Sagebrush for shedding light on issues that they may not want to be publicized. However, we have a job to do as journalists, and in order to maintain their transparency, that’s going to be part of it, and they shouldn’t feel ashamed for it, because they’re already one step ahead of much of the campus.
We at The Nevada Sagebrush applaud anyone brave enough to partake in what it really takes to become a leader, and that is the opportunity to fail.
The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff can be reached at email@example.com.