Desirae Acosta – President
When Desirae Acosta was growing up, her mother would tell her, “Leave a place better than when you found it.”
Her mother was referring to after she would play in her room or leave a friend’s home, but the saying has stuck with Acosta all her life.
“That’s what I’ve really attempted to do here at the University of Nevada with every organization that I’ve been a part of, is leaving it better than I found it,” Acosta said.
“If I have the ability to change something for the better or to help, then I’m going to do that.” Acosta said that when she first came to the university, she didn’t know what she wanted to major in, but she knew she wanted to be a student ambassador.
After becoming an ambassador, Acosta became involved in a multitude of organizations before becoming a part of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada as the director of campus unity.
“Being director of unity has definitely given me tougher skin,” Acosta said. “It’s a position you have to work really hard for and you have to be really passionate about.
But seeing that when we do have events, there’s students I recognize who are coming to unity events, but don’t attend other events that ASUN puts on, and I realize giving these students a voice needs to happen more.
Having the platform of being president can allow me to make a difference in even more students’ lives, rather than as just director of unity.”
Acosta said she finds happiness in bettering the student experience, and she wouldn’t want to spend her time at the university any other way.
Although she doesn’t have much free time, she said after she sees the effect she’s had on a student, it makes it all worth it.
“There have been times when I’ve held back, and that bothers me more,” Acosta said. “Yes maybe at that moment I wasn’t busy or had free time, but I wasn’t happy. It others me more knowing that I’m not giving something my all then giving it my all and sometimes being tired or overworked. That’s what I enjoy. That’s what I love is making a difference and knowing that it’s worth it.”
PROVIDE MORE CIVIC ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
-Hold at least one volunteer fair annually
-Have clubs and organizations adopt a park
-Partnering up with the service learning club and service learning office
HIGHLIGHT ACADEMIC SUCCESS
-Academic college with highest average GPA receives a brunch
INCREASE CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT
-Create a non-traditional student coalition
-Use the non-traditional student coalition to start conversations on how to support non-traditional students
Theo Meek – Vice President
Theo Meek said he wants to be ASUN vice president for one reason: to give back to the university.
“I am nowhere near the same person that I was three years ago when I came to the university campus,” Meek said. “I really do believe I’m a better person now.
I feel more well rounded, I feel more culturally competent, I’ve got a great group of friends that I want to continue friendships with forever.
The university has really given me so many experiences in my life, so I just want to give back to the university, and I want others to get the same experiences I’ve gotten out of it.”
After graduating in Reno in 2010, Meek attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for one year before moving back to Reno, where he immersed himself in student organizations.
Meek became heavily involved in the college of business as a peer mentor and president of the management and human resources association, as well as being president of the business student council.
His involvement in the college of business led him to become a club commissioner for ASUN, a position he became very passionate about.
“That’s what has really driven me to run for ASUN vice president because I see what all of [the clubs] go through,” Meek said.
“I love that I have the opportunity to see all of the good, the bad and the ugly of everything they have to go through, because then I can take from the good, the bad and the ugly and try to make it a better experience for them.”
Meek said he is so passionate about clubs and organizations because he feels that’s where he found his sense of belonging on campus.
He said it wasn’t his classes that kept him coming back to the university, but the organizations he was involved in. “I want to give all of our undergraduate students a sense of belonging on campus,”
Meek said. “All of them need to feel that the University of Nevada is their campus, and I think one of the best ways to do that is through clubs and orgs.”
SUPPORT CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS
-Have someone available to sit down with club leaders and work through the funding application process with them
GENERATE STUDENT INITIATIVES
-Create an ad hoc committee for 365 learning coalition
-Continue conversations with clubs and organizations post-election
-Start recruiting for pack mentorship program
IMPROVING STUDENT SUCCESS SERVICES
-Communicate with tutoring departments to support upper-division courses
-Hold first generation student conference
-Create ad hoc committee for multi-cultural students
Jake Pereira- President
Though baseball camp was what brought Pereira to Reno, baseball wasn’t what would entice him back to the university a semester later.
One year before his trip to Reno, Pereira broke his neck, both of his legs and his back in a snowboarding accident.
After spending three months in a wheelchair, and gradually re-learning how to walk, Pereira was dead-set on continuing with baseball and making it onto a college baseball team.
“So, I worked my ass off for the next couple of years, and I had the opportunity to continue playing in college,” Pereira said.
“But, I think having life taken away like that gave me such a zest for other things. I was still so passionate about being in the outdoors and so passionate about being involved in leadership that I decided if I just played baseball I wouldn’t be able to do all these other things.”
His senior year of high school, Pereira decided other things in life were more important to him than baseball, and the Idaho native chose to attend school at UNR.
“When I came down to Nevada, I knew that I had a chance to start over new,” Pereira said.
“I didn’t know anybody, and I knew that the opportunities were going to present themselves, and I was going to take advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me.”
Pereira joined the social fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon his freshman year, but said he really began to see the results of leadership when he became the fraternity’s president his sophomore year.
His leadership roles in his fraternity led him to roles in the ASUN department of traditions, where he became the director of traditions.
“I remember driving into Reno seeing the Reno skyline and this big university, and it was so intimidating, and I didn’t know anyone,” Pereira said. “Now to have the opportunity to hold the office of the president, it really is a humbling experience. ”
ESTABLISH A COST EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE BUDGET
-Create an overarching vision for ASUN to follow the course of the year
-Analyze past ASUN expenditures and realign with overarching vision
INCREASING THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
-Analyze past metrics on events held by ASUN and create more events that students are excited about
-Hold more large-scale events that will leave lasting memories for students
SHIFTING ASUN CULTURE
-Hold the executive board accountable
-Utilize the director of public relations
-Reach out to academic colleges, alumni and athletics
-Form strategic partnerships with community members
Alex Bybee – Vice President
Since first grade, native Nevadan Alex Bybee has been a part of student government.
“I think there’s so much more to life in those 25 years, that one fourth of your life, then just sitting in the classroom,” Bybee said.
“Part of it was probably that it was just fun. I don’t think I had this profound realization at the age of seven that there’s more to life than this classroom. I think that I saw what student government did in elementary school had an impact on people, and I just think that I wanted to be a part of that, and I still continue to want to be a part of that.”
Growing up in a community of people with strong leadership skills, Bybee said he was instilled with their values and continues to empower people with the same abilities.
“Once you are armed with a skill set to lead people and you understand how to administrate, you understand how to manage a team and really create substantive outcomes for a population, you really want to share those skills with the world,” Bybee said.
After becoming a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, Bybee persisted in participating in experiences outside of the classroom by becoming the ASUN director of legislative affairs.
He believes the vice president position will allow him to further improve the student experience at UNR.
“There is no feeling like that of community,” Bybee said. “I mean, we’re a wolf pack, and there are policies that stand in the way of that. Ultimately the office of the vice president gives you a platform to eliminate the policies and the barriers that stand in the way of building our community and strengthening our pack.”
MAKING ASUN AN APPROACHABLE INSTITUTION
-Resuscitate president’s advisory council
-Increasing frequency of town hall meetings
-Increasing ASUN online presence
INCREASE COMPETITIVENESS OF NEVADA DEGREE POST-GRADUATION
-Increase the number of opportunities students have post-graduation and during their time at Nevada
-Increase opportunities by establishing an internship subsidy program
-Continue strategic partnerships with the Nevada career studio and office of service learning and civic engagement
ENSURING ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION FOR STUDENTS
-Connecting administrators, legislators and policy makers with the on the ground student perspective
Alex Mosher can be reached at amosher@sage-