ASUO President-elect Ben Eckstein’s new staff positions to emphasize outreach

ASUO President-elect Ben Eckstein released the list of positions open on next year’s executive staff in an ad in Monday’s Emerald, and it includes a few differences from current President Amelie Rousseau’s staff, created last May. The biggest changes are the shifting of outreach coordinator tasks to the entire staff and defining the workload of the legislative affairs [email protected]@ @@*[email protected]@

“It was something we felt would make those positions more effective,” Eckstein said. “There is a lot of overlap, but it does make sense to divide (the positions).”

In past years before Rousseau’s staff, the executive had both a state affairs coordinator and a federal affairs coordinator — which had options to sit on the Oregon Student Association board and United States Student Association board, respectively. This year, the positions were just called legislative affairs coordinators. One of them, Molly Bennison, said their focus this year was on state education [email protected]@

“(It was) a year where there were a lot of state issues,” Bennison said. “This year, we were in a good position to both focus on state.”

Bennison said next year’s federal affairs coordinator will have a lot to keep busy with. Several federal financial aid packages were threatened or diminished by federal budget cuts, and this official will work with the USSA board on advocacy about that issue.

Additionally, Bennison said students have shown interest in starting a Student Labor Action Project chapter, and the federal affairs coordinator would be working on that.

The executive staff member said she thinks the positions this year were selected well by Eckstein and Vice President-elect Katie [email protected]@

“It’s good to have a smaller staff. It’s easier to manage and creates more defined roles,” Bennison said.

Eckstein’s staff does not have a dedicated person for outreach, because he said having all positions focus on communication with students is more effective.

“It was also the goal … to connect students with their student government,” Eckstein said. “It was something we incorporated into every position we wrote: to connect better with students.”

Eckstein said the outreach position has been nebulous in the past, and he and the others creating positions thought it best to make every position seek to better connect the students with the ASUO.

The University affairs coordinator changed the title and description of the University liaison to incorporate more of what that person will do, Eckstein said.

In other changes, Eckstein’s staff will return a multicultural advocate but will also have an international student advocate. A volunteer coordinator will manage students who volunteer for nongovernmental aspects of ASUO work.

The new staff will not return a political director, a graduate/nontraditional student advocate or programs liaison.

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