ASUO prepares for the new term

Even with fall out of the way, the ASUO is going to experience sweeping changes coming into the new year.

For the winter term, the executive branch of the ASUO will be staying busy with ensuring that the two new programs it’s launching in the winter run as smooth as possible. The new office of affordability and the Duck ‘N Cover program were created in response to students growing concerns of tuition increases.

“The key thing that always comes up is how to make school more affordable,” ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz said. “That’s why we’re institutionalizing an office in the executive that’s dedicated just to affordability.”

Rachel Gowland, director of the student affordability office, is currently the only person assigned to the department, but according to Dotters-Katz, the office will be fully fleshed out with more staff members throughout the term.

The ASUO is also starting a campus-wide campaign called Duck ‘N Cover, an initiative that looks to help students better understand their health insurance options with the University of Oregon, as well as the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re wanting to get students registered and be covered with health insurance, no matter where it comes from,” Dotters-Katz said. “We want to help students know the new health care laws and what the coverage means to them. Our website is already up and running, and we’re doing a lot of our campaigning for it during the term.”

ASUO student health commissioner Candace Joyner said that the program will help students enroll with any health insurance plan they choose to apply to. To raise awareness for the campaign, Duck ‘N Cover will also be partnering with Planned Parenthood of Southwest Oregon.

Along with all of this term’s new programs, the ASUO will also focus on preparing its move from the EMU to McArthur Court. Due to the EMU renovations, the ASUO and 13 other programs will move into McArthur Court by the beginning of spring term.

“We’re working on our move to go as smoothly as possible because these will be our temporary offices for the next two years,” Dotters-Katz said. “It’s essential that we’re in a good place for the next couple of years and we want to make sure that we’re still able to facilitate students and do our job as well as possible.”

The ASUO senate is experiencing change as well. Senators Jonathan Wu, Lexi Olson, Kevin Frazier, Stephanie Schie and Parker Williams have all resigned from their senate seats, and within the next month the executive will appoint new senators, which will then have to be approved by the senate.

The senate is welcoming change though, and its members looking forward to everything this term has to offer.

“What our goals should be is to listen to the voices of the students and student programs, as we were elected to do,” senator Helena Schlegel said. “I’m excited to continue working with students and programs to make the university a more inclusive and safe place.”

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