O'Scannell plans for next year

Julie Herrmann/Sun Star Reporter
May 7, 2013

Associated Students of UAF President-elect Ayla O’Scannell has big plans for the 2013-2014 school year.

O’Scannell and her running mate, Mickey Zakurdaew, won the president and vice-president seats in the ASUAF election two weeks ago. O’Scannell and Zakurdaew won with just 11 votes more than president candidate and current Vice-President Dillon Ball and vice-president candidate Michael Mancill. At the beginning of next semester, O’Scannell will replace current President Mari Freitag and Zakurdaew will replace Ball.

O’Scannell says one of her goals for next year is to increase student interaction and input with ASUAF through open houses and tabling with senators. Last fall, ASUAF held an open house with the student governance groups The Sun Star, Concert Board, KSUA and Review of Infrastructure, Sustainability and Energy (RISE). The open house gave students the opportunity to talk to the groups. O’Scannell wants to see this continue every semester in the future.

O’Scannell also wants senators to spend time in the Wood Center or Moore-Bartlett-Skarland to increase student discussion with ASUAF members. Senators have regular office hours but sitting at a table that students regularly pass by would make senators more approachable, according to O’Scannell.

O’Scannell thinks that more student interaction will make ASUAF a better voice for the students and, as a result, ASUAF will be taken more seriously by both students and UAF administration.

At the beginning of this semester, the Financial Aid Office changed their financial aid disbursement policy from distributing funding 10 days prior to the first day of classes to the day classes begin. ASUAF took a stand on this issue with Resolution 180-001 sponsored by several senators including Zakurdaew asking the financial aid office to change the policy back. Although the financial aid policy has not changed, O’Scannell wants to continue pressing this issue.

“I also take out student loans so I was one of many impacted by the change in the disbursement policy,” O’Scannell said. “It’s important that ASUAF take a firm stand on issues that affect students. ”

Another priority for O’Scannell is appropriating extra funding for student clubs. The budget is written by the president and submitted to the senate for approval. Freitag wrote the budget for next year which rearranged $1,000 to club council and club travel funding. O’Scannell plans to continue this. “I’d like to see where in the budget we can move things around and give more money directly to students. ”

“She’s very organized and did a very good job as senate chair,” Freitag said. There’s pressure and the president is responsible for the overall image of ASUAF and often has to make tough decisions that don’t please everyone. “She has a knack for administration. Overall, it’s been good,” Freitag said about her experience with O’Scannell.

O’Scannell has been a senator since March of 2012 when she was appointed to the senate. This year, she served as the senate chair. O’Scannell has traveled to Juneau to advocate for UAF program funding and has participated in the Coalition of Student Leaders, an organization of student government representatives from all UA campuses for promoting student needs and welfare. Zakurdaew has been a senator for two years and is currently the longest serving senator. Zakurdaew works for KSUA and is next year’s president of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. “He’s very well-connected with campus and understands student needs,” O’Scannell said.

“Micky and I are both really excited for next year. We think we can do a lot of great things for the students. We look forward to working for students and working with them and getting new great ideas for UAF,” O’Scannell said.

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