New ASUI Chief of Staff wants better student representation
Alejandra “Vivi” Gonzales has been appointed ASUI chief of staff for the next academic year. Her goals are to create a more diverse ASUI and make student government more accessible to students.
“I want to create a very empowering environment where students in ASUI grow,” Gonzales said. “I want to make this office a very safe and inclusive space.”
Currently, ASUI is not a diverse entity, Gonzales said. Not just when it comes to race and gender, but also when it comes to colleges and living groups.
In order to create a more diverse environment, Gonzales said she is looking forward to working with ASUI President-elect Max Cowan and ASUI Vice President-elect Stetson Holman to redistrict the colleges and living groups so that they can be better represented in student government.
“Diversity is important, because we are a very diverse university,” Gonzales said. “It is important that our student leaders are knowledgeable in diverse fields.”
It is important to find solutions to solve problems for every student group, not just for some, Gonzales said. This is why it is important to have a diverse ASUI, so those solutions can be found for everyone.
“I want to incorporate the different diversity traits,” Gonzales said. “It is about ASUI being the best representative body it can be.”
ASUI acts as a bridge between the student body and the University of Idaho administration and the state government, Gonzales said. It is a form of checks and balances and a venue for students to address their concerns to the administration.
“We make sure the administration is answering to the needs of the students,” Gonzales said.
One of the issues she feels students could be influential in is the stagnant wages of faculty and staff who work for the university.
Many university employees leave each year, leaving some departments understaffed, Gonzales said. This means some classes are not being offered when students may need to take them in order to graduate.
“That is one place the student voice could be very powerful,” Gonzales said. “It affects us as students.”
Gonzales said she wants ASUI to have a larger presence in the Idaho State Legislature to solve this problem.
“These students have the power to make significant changes for the students,” Gonzales said. “It is important that what we do as a student government reflects the student population as a whole.”
ASUI is a great opportunity to make connections, get involved in the university and work to enact change, Gonzales said.
“You learn a lot in the classroom,” Gonzales said. “But you learn a lot more outside the classroom.”
Graham Perednia can be reached at email@example.com