Current ASUO administration prepares for a new slate to move in and to say goodbye
After Ducks Together won this year’s ASUO election by a landslide, some members of this year’s administration said leaving their roles will be bittersweet.
ASUO President Amy Schenk said that though she enjoyed her time in ASUO, she would refrain from retaking the job for “twenty years.”
Schenk said she’s both excited and relieved that members of Ducks Together won and said she was “overwhelmed” while trying to give all her thoughts to ASUO President-elect Maria Alejandra Gallegos-Chacon after Ducks Together’s win.
“I’m excited for her to start her year and continue the progress that my team has specifically worked on throughout this year,” Schenk added.
Schenk wants to make Ducks Together’s transition as personal as it was between her and 2015-16 ASUO President Quinn Haga when Schenk was elected. For Schenk, that means having one-on-one conversations with the Ducks Together slate about the takeaways that she has from this year.
“One thing I’ve learned this year is to not be surprised,” said Schenk, adding that there will always be something that comes up and surprises Gallegos. “Don’t let it show and just realize that you can and will — if you’re holding your value strong — do whatever you want to achieve this year.”
ASUO External Vice President Vickie Gimm also said that she felt bittersweet leaving her role. She added that she is “exactly the same” as before she took on the role, but now she feels “a lot more tired.”
“One of my regrets is probably not being stern enough,” Gimm said. “I feel like I’ve been pretty bitchy, but I also feel like now — knowing where I’m at — there’s a lot of stuff you can get away with, and there are some things that people just really need to hear. I almost wish that I was even tougher on the people that I challenge.”
Gallegos and the rest of the newly elected ASUO members will take office on May 23, when all outgoing ASUO officers will have a celebration for their service. New members will have their first day of office on May 25.
Schenk endorsed Ducks Together on her personal Facebook profile the day before election polls closed, writing that she knew that “they have the best interests of all students at heart.”
Ducks Together and UO For You, the campaign that Schenk and the rest of the current presidential slate ran on last year, share platform points, particularly those relating to tuition advocacy and the student food pantry.
A major value of UO For You was its commitment to including students in the tuition and fee process by publicizing the meetings of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board, as reported by the Emerald.
UO For You also wanted to relocate the 19th Avenue food pantry onto campus, a goal that student organizations such as the Radical Organizing and Activism Resource (R.O.A.R.) Center have been working toward for years, according to Schenk. Oregon State University, Southern Oregon University and Western Oregon University all have on-campus food pantries.
This year, Ducks Together pushed for the affordability of UO tuition and fees and the secure funding for the food pantry and other student services while at the ASUO Town Hall Debate in early April. Gallegos said these services need to be accessible.
The campaign advertised itself as “the representation this campus needs” as a diverse group of “qualified student leaders … union leaders, center directors, community artists and organizers,” according to the Ducks Together Facebook page. Schenk said her own administration has made many efforts to open the door for the ASUO-hopefuls who are part of groups not traditionally represented in ASUO, such as non-traditional students, students of color and LGBTQ students.
Schenk said she thinks Ducks Together will do “an amazing job, because they themselves are part of those communities that had been historically squashed down.”
“I’m hoping that if this continues,” Schenk said, “it’s going to be a lot of students who have this underlying value of wanting to do good on our campus to be in ASUO.”
ASUO Internal Vice President Tess Mor was unavailable for comment.
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