By Jacob Solis
The Associated Students of the University of Nevada has grown from humble beginnings into a many-tentacled octopus with arms grasping every aspect of student life, often for better, though occasionally for worse. From programming to clubs and organizations to the student government, ASUN is the ultimate avenue for students to get involved not only with their major, but with the greater university.
The head of the beast, as established by the Constitution of the Associated Students, is the student government, itself controlled by the senate and executive board. The two work in tandem to set policy for ASUN and generally direct the organization as a whole.
The senate is comprised of 22 members, each of whom represents their respective college. Some colleges have more senators than others, based on how many students are in each college but every undergraduate student is represented by at least one senator. Generally, elected students make admirable senators, but the senate is not without its controversy.
During last year’s 82nd session, the senate saw record numbers of senators resign. While most left due to time constraints, some, like former senator for the College of Science Jeffrey Dominguez, left because they “no longer wished to fulfill their bureaucratic duties.”
Even the 83rd session, which has only been in session for four months, has not been without its own problems. The senate meeting on Aug. 26 was the first time since April that every single senator was present, according to Speaker of the Senate Nick Andrew.
“I have to have 15 senators to do business,” Andrew said. “One of the issues was that our senate is kind of young this year. We have an unprecedented number of sophomores who ran as freshman for senate, and a lot of them just went home for the summer.”
On the executive side of things, ASUN President Caden Fabbi has been busy crafting a number of new policy initiatives, including a new strategic plan, an ASUN Center for Student Engagement remodel and banning plastic water bottles from ASUN events.
“I am the direct representative of all undergraduate students on our campus to university administrators to legislators and, honestly, to an extent federal issues and things like that,” Fabbi said of his position. “In a nutshell, ASUN serves the purpose of getting students engaged on campus.”
While Fabbi is certainly not lacking ideas, a key problem that has plagued previous administrations has been the phenomenon of burnout. For example, the tag-team duo of Jake Perreira and Alex Bybee started last year strong, the latter spearheading the Pack Internship Grant Program, which joined local businesses with the university to provide paid internships to students.
However, by the end of the year, Perreira and Bybee rarely appeared in senate meetings and did little actual policy making outside of signing senate bills. While Fabbi has promised “I don’t burn out,” only time will tell if Fabbi is truly immune to the great equalizer.
This is to say nothing of the other departments within the ASUN’s executive branch, including programming, which just recently put on the Welcome Week concert featuring Waka Flocka Flame, clubs and orgs, which provides resources to more than 200 clubs and legislative affairs, which educates the student body on various political matters.
Jacob Solis can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.