STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF AND ADMINISTRATORS:
This Wednesday, April 15, I will be sworn in as the 112th President of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada. Since the organization was founded as the “Athletic Association” in 1898 with its President Nathaniel Dunsdon, the Associated Students have served a vital role on this campus as advocates for student needs. Influential leaders in our community have served in this position in the past, including politicians, business entrepreneurs, lawyers and doctors. Needless to say, this is not something that I am taking lightly.
While campaigning throughout February and into March, I promised a year that would not soon be forgotten. This university is in the middle of an important turning point; it continues to grow in numbers in order to meet its goal of reaching 22,000 students by the year 2020, while also growing its services, faculty and buildings in order to become recognized as a “Very High Research Activity” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The opportunity for this group of student body officers to alter the course of this university for years to come is here. And, I think we plan to do just that.
I was thrilled to learn that this election season had record voter turnout. More than 19 percent of our undergraduate student body voted in this year’s elections. While this number may seem low, college election voter turnout tends to hover around 12 percent nationwide.
For the other 80.4 percent, it’s our job to figure out how to get them engaged. Research shows that students who are involved in campus activities are retained and more likely to graduate in four years. So whether it’s through better programming, more clubs and organizations, leadership development programs, athletics or employment opportunities, I will work to increase the quality and quantity of these important facets of this administration and my vision for the future of our university. I’ll start with 19.6 percent. But by the end of my term, if student satisfaction, retention, academic performance, as well as the amount of engaged students has not increased, this administration has failed.
Class of 2016 and beyond: I need your help. I cannot create a vision for the next 10 years of our university without student input. I cannot properly represent student interests in local, state and federal policy without hearing from you. I cannot understand the difficulties of students on our campus without you telling me. Tell your student officers these things; they’re probably the most easily accessible of any representative you’ll have in your whole life. You have the power to enact change on this campus. Take advantage of it.
I am beyond excited for this opportunity, and I cannot thank this campus enough for the experiences and opportunities that I have had to get me where I am today. To the students, faculty, administration and alumni of this remarkable, traditional university: I will not let you down. After all, we have a big future, with little doubt.
Caden Fabbi is the 112th president-elect of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.