ASOSU: The changing of the guard
New student government administration sworn in, parting remarks from last
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:07
With pomp and formality, the Associated Students of Oregon State University swore in the new administration and congressmen and women last night in a joint session of congress.
The evening was one of parting remarks from outgoing leaders and speeches full of promises from incoming leaders, President Amelia Harris and Vice President Dan Cushing.
“We learned a lot and grew a lot,” said Sokho Eath, former vice president. “I’m confident in the new team carrying on our goals of accountability, transparency and responsibility.”
An emotional M. Tonga Hopoi thanked students for the year she had to serve them as president and admonished the new administration to remember they are students first.
“Everything you do next year will be a reflection of who you are,” Hopoi said.
Harris emphasized her campaign slogan of building bridges between different areas of the university.
“We will work to ensure fair processes are followed and student fees are used in the best interests of the student body,” Harris said. “I will ensure students have an active voice and representation at this university and in the state.”
Cushing acknowledged the long tradition of student government at Oregon State University and promised to “blaze a new trail into the future,” as well.
“(We will work on) restoring the trust between students and student leaders and within the government itself,” Cushing said.
The new Speaker of the House, Jacob Vandever, embellished his speech with jokes, his remarks taking on a jocular tone.
“I’m going to take a nap in the Student Experience Center and think of Tonga and Sokho,” Vandever said, acknowledging the role Hopoi and Eath played in getting the bond approved for the Student Experience Center this year.
Vandever said he would like to focus on election reform, building a Middle Eastern cultural center and improving accessibility on the campus.
“This year student government will be under higher scrutiny,” Vandever said. “We need to realize that what looks bad for one branch of ASOSU, makes all the branches of ASOSU look bad.”
Vandever also said he looked forward to working with Harris and Cushing and “being part of the bridge-e-ness Dan (Cushing) is always talking about.”
In his parting remarks after serving as speaker of the house for two years, Drew Hatlen said that it had been fun three years working at ASOSU.
“ASOSU helps you find your character, find yourself and find your future,” Hatlen said.
At the end of the meeting, Douglas Van Bossyut, who has served in ASOSU since 2001 but is graduating this year, gave some final remarks.
Van Bossyut said that ASOSU needed to find ways to get people more involved in student government, saying the 7.5 percent voter turnout in the last election was pathetic.
Van Bossyut also said that he felt that the internal governing documents of ASOSU required revision.
Before the swearing in ceremony, the house also passed JB 71.09, which was passed by the senate on Tuesday. The bill will assign senators and representatives to student groups and organizations, requiring them to attend meetings with them and work on behalf of those groups.
The new cabinet was also sworn in during the meeting as well as new representatives and senators.
The new cabinet members are Melani Bates, executive chief of staff, Brett Deedon, executive secretary, Saketa Dixon, director of finance, Ryan Broadsword, director of communications, Blake Viena, executive director of diversity programs, Lexie Merrill, executive director of community resources and Nagini Reddy, executive director of government relations.
The new administration will serve for one year. The president and her cabinet are expected to work 40 hours a week during the summer months and 20 hours a week during fall, winter and spring term.
Don Iler, managing editor
On Twitter: @doniler