The Presidents Dozen: 12 questions for Nicole Carvajal

By Jeremia Schrock
Sun Star Reporter

Biggest challenge you’ve faced as president?

There have been a lot of groups coming to us, looking for funding. It’s been a challenge working to find ways to make everybody happy. Making sure the students get what they need, making sure all the groups get what they need and making sure that we’re being responsible with our funds.

How do you feel you’ve performed as president thus far?

I think I’ve done pretty well. I’m pretty happy with the job I’ve done thus far.

How do you explain the low turn-out for this past fall’s student elections?

Fall elections always have historically had a low turn out and this election is not too much below what we usually see for the Fall election. I took over as the Election Board Chair the same day as the first debate so I didn’t have time to do much. There were a lot of problems along the way that came up.

Do you have any plans to encourage a higher voter turnout this spring?

I think a lot of what we need to be doing is just focusing on getting ourselves out there, and that’s something I think we’ve set the groundwork for this semester with the amount of funds we’ve given out. With the projects that we’re involved in, I think people are going to start seeing a lot more of ASUAF around campus. So, I think that in itself will do a lot for voter turnout.

Using a letter grade, how would you rate this past semester’s senate?

C. We got things done, but not enough. We didn’t always do it the right way.

Do you have any recommendations for this year’s senate?

I would like to see the senate be a little more proactive instead of reactive. I’d like to see them reaching out to different people a little more and being more willing to work with them. It was a bit of a struggle to get senators to work with some of the groups, Concert Board in particular. I would like to see that changed.

Do you have any semester goals of your own?

Part of what I want to do is get a good infrastructure in place so that next year ASUAF can continue to grow. I would like to see us, first of all, get our own office taken care of. Get computers that are needed for everyone who is employed, get job descriptions and jobs so that everything is filled so that there is somebody for everything. Right now, we’re in kind of a weird in-between phase with the paid positions that we have and making sure the RISE Board gets their governance agreement signed.

What would you say was ASUAF’s biggest success this year?

Well, we found out how much money we had in our carry-forward account, we allocated enough money to start building an outdoor education this summer, we allocated $60,000 to Concert Board, so they’re going to have a big Spring Fest concert. Just the way we’ve been spending our money, we have way too much in our savings account. And I think we’re starting to find the balance between having a good cushion there and still spending the students’ money the way that we feel we should spend it and the way the students want us to.

What would you say was ASUAF’s biggest failure?

We gave ourselves a really bad name by being slightly uncooperative with the Concert Board, in particular. We could have done things a lot better and a lot differently and I wish that we had, but in the end, everything worked out. We came to a solution that everybody was comfortable with, but that doesn’t excuse the way the Concert Board was treated.

Is there anything you’d like to see changed about the ASUAF student government fee?

I’d like to see the governance groups working together on figuring out a way to possibly raise the fee. I think all of the groups are coming to the consensus that we just don’t have enough money to do the things that we need to do. We’re not able to provide the services that we need to provide to the students anymore and I think we all need to work together to raise the fee a reasonable amount.

How much do you think it should be raised?

I haven’t looked at the numbers hard enough yet, so I can’t answer that. But, I can tell you that none of the groups have enough money and we’re all fighting over a pot of money that’s way too small.

Is there a legacy you’d like to leave UAF?

I’d like to see students more aware of ASUAF and I’d like them to have the infrastructure in place for them to continue to grow. I think we’ve been stagnant for way too long and I’d like to see this year, and my term as president, as kind of a rebuilding year and setting the groundwork for us to be better.

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