Although the Associated Students of USF (ASUSF) elections will not be held until April, preliminary events last week ranged from water conservation awareness to the aptly named “Pie-A-Senator.” Beyond hurling pies into the faces of student leaders, there were also ample opportunities for further involvement.
Nick Fragoso, the newly appointed Vice President of Sustainability, and Larry Figueroa, the Vice President of Public Relations, were eager to elucidate the deeper meaning behind the weeks events. Fragoso, a sophomore politics major, explained, “These events are a way for students to get to know the Senate and get a feel for the type of things we do. This is primarily to encourage them to run for a Senate position and participate in more Senate events that occur throughout the year.”
Monday, senators could be found tabling in the cafeteria in order to connect with the student body. Figueroa expanded on the importance of these events for students and senators alike: “I was a senator last year so I know how intimidating it can be when you are asked to represent 1,200 students. It’s scary, confusing, and at times unproductive. So by creating this week of events, we as a team reach out to our constituents so we have each other’s support.”
After the festivities during the day on Tuesday, a Senate Fair was held during which students could familiarize themselves with the inner workings of the Senate as well as learning ways to get involved. From attending public weekly meetings on Tuesday to running for Senate themselves, various levels of participation are equally encouraged.
On Wednesday, “We had a Photo Campaign called ONE-USF to show that no matter where you come from in the world, we ended up here together. Its purpose was to promote school unity in a fun photo campaign,” Figueroa pointed out. During Fall Senate Week last semester, YOU-SF was a similar campaign aimed at highlighting the individuality of each student here at USF. ONE-USF brought this event full circle, focusing on the importance of unity. Figueroa continued, “Something that I noticed coming into this year was that the student body felt slightly disconnected from the Senate. As senators who represent the students, a disconnect is frankly unacceptable. I intentionally created this week of events so that senators could meet their constituents and get to know the students they are representing a little more.”
ASUSF introduced a new role for themselves during this week of events: engaging in environmental action, most recently aimed at water conservation efforts. On Thursday the Sustainability Committee, under the leadership of Fragoso, hosted Dons on the Lawn. “This event was aimed at raising awareness about water conservation. We had a representative from the San Francisco Office of Water Conservation tabling to raise awareness about the drought here in California.”
Besides giving the USF community a window into the inner mechanisms of the Senate, the past week’s events encouraged students to recognize the ways in which their ideas and concerns alike could be voiced. However, ASUSF was out to have some fun as well. “I also wanted people to realize that senators are students as well…It doesn’t hurt to show how much fun Senate can be!” remarked Larry.
From learning about ways to conserve water, to hurling a pie into a stranger’s face, the Senate events this week were ultimately geared towards promoting a greater degree of involvement in April when the actual elections take place. Student involvement is only the first step.
Photo credits: Colleen Barrett/Foghorn