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by Nicole Bleidistel, student writer

At its Jan. 28 meeting, ASHPU, HPU’s student government organization, concentrated on the upcoming talent show DaFreak Show, a possible continental breakfast, and the pending Feb. 4 biannual meeting in which unoccupied positions will be filled.
In addition, possible solutions to current problems were discussed. Some of these ongoing problems include lack of student representation to the faculty and administration, ASHPU’s reputation as party planners, and the need for a better leadership process. The recurring theme of the January meeting, however, was the need to get ASHPU’s name out there and on the minds of students, faculty, and administration.
ASHPU performs a wide variety of functions but rarely receives credit for the money, time, and effort it spends to enrich the lives of the students or the experiences it offers for the students.
“ We don’t attach our name to things, and we hardly ever have anything that says ‘ASHPU,’” said ASHPU treasurer Travis Mount.
ASHPU organizes social and academic functions—such as Monsters’ Ball, HPU in Bloom, and the University’s spring art contest—but it doesn’t put up a sign designating its role in doing so. According to freshman Denise Farris from Seattle, who helped organize Monsters’ Ball, ASHPU’s biggest event of the year is Monsters’ Ball. Yet the consensus at the meeting was that only a few students know that ASHPU is even involved.
Mikaela Paulate, a freshman from San Francisco, proves this: “I went to Monsters’ Ball, but I didn’t even know who put it on. I figured it was student government,” Paulate added, “but they didn’t have a sign up or anything.”
ASHPU Council member Craig Ursuy, a sophomore representative, said : “Students don’t know what ASHPU is or who they are trying to help.” He added, “ASHPU needs to change its structure in order to improve advocacy.”
ASHPU has a current reputation merely as “party planners,” according to Catalin Reddaway, international studies major from Ohio, because the events they organize—events such as Monsters’ Ball, DaFreak Show, and the art shows—are so high profile. ASHPU, however, does a lot more, and many of its activities—such as advocating for more and better student parking, more convenient meal times, and more shuttles running between the two campuses—are less obvious but more important to students than parties.
Council discussion focused on how to change student perceptions and develop a more well-rounded reputation that reflects the council’s actual purpose at HPU.
“ When I got elected,” freshman representative Asia Rikard said, “the first thing we did was plan Monsters’ Ball,” but then we focused on advocating what else ASHPU can offer for the students; [that’s] the big thing, and that’s what we’re really trying to do. That’s the difference.”
Another ASHPU problem is the process of transitioning from one administration to the next. ASHPU’s new members are elected in spring and begin their duties the following fall, with no overlap to allow old members to train the new ones. Mount believes overcoming this problem is essential to ASHPU’s success. He argued for “setting up a better system for transitions will help to meet the challenges that lie ahead next year instead of just falling into a new academic year and being not quite sure what is happening.
“ Lack of preparation for their positions,” Mount continues, ”prevents new ASHPU officers from starting out strong and causes organizational problems.
“ How can we do this better and develop student leaders more broadly?” he asks.
While council members are examining ASHPU’s current system of organization and procedures, they are also looking for ways to build a better relationship with the administration.
Currently, Rikard said “We have to answer to a lot more people and pull a lot more strings in order to actually accomplish things and get big things done.”
Pinning its hopes on getting to know administrators better in order to function more effectively, ASHPU is currently working on a continental breakfast for HPU’s administration later this semester. The hope is that “it would increase communication between ASHPU and the HPU administration in a nonformal way.
“ The continental breakfast would be a great icebreaker,” said Ursuy. “It’s a great way for the professors and deans to see that we’re not just individual students, we represent the entire HPU student body.”

 

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