Spring Elections: Thomas Doan, Student Services VP Candidate Q & A
NU: What is your history with ASUCI, your accomplishments, and why you feel qualified for the position?
TD: For ASUCI I started out as an intern fall quarter of my sophomore year. I was part of the Student Programming Funding Board. I am now currently commissioner of festivals, so being a part of different branches of ASUCI gives me a better viewpoint than most people would have. ASUCI is very divided, the three branches are very separated, which is a good and bad thing. It’s supposed to prevent biases and different conflicts. Us being so separated makes it difficult for us to work together toward a common goal.
NU: In that past ASUCI has had to dip into reserve funds to put on Reggaefest. How would you change the way that ASUCI handles these funds?
TD: Reggaefest is a really hard event to handle in general. Reggaefest is an event that is under budgeted for, because there is not enough money in general, and at the end of the year, right before Reggaefest, we’ll reallocate money through every other office into student services just for Reggaefest. I think the better way to deal with this is to plan for smaller Reggaefest, and if there is money left over, that’d be great. We can make it larger last minute, but I think planning smaller and not having the big costs of bigger artists or giveaways is smarter budget-wise, but makes the event smaller. It’s something we’ll have to give up to plan more efficiently money-wise.
NU: Give up Reggaefest?
TD: Just give up a bigger Reggaefest, just have a smaller one. You just have to do it, you don’t have enough money for everything you want to do.
NU: How would you improve ASUCI’s relationship with students in terms of acknowledging input?
TD: Student input is super important. There is never enough student input. I think having more forums that students can come to and give their opinions on current events and past events, change would be amazing, having surveys to do the same would also be great. It’s just really hard. I know ASUCI always has forums for the Bus Love, of current events, of what they can do for students, are doing for students. It’s just so hard to get students motivated to come out. I think having a consistent place for students to drop off their concerns. I think in the ASUCI office have a suggestion box, or have a form online on the ASUCI website, like “what would you change about an event any ASUCI office has worked on?” Just send out more emails too, which is kind of annoying but email impotence is so important, not only for us but for OEOD, the campus climate, we get so little input, only a few people know about everything on campus. I think greater visibility and greater awareness of everything that’s going on, on campus would be… positive input would come bigger.
NU: What kind of changes would you make to Shocktoberfest to improve the experience?
TD: Everyone wants bigger artists, everyone wants the famous lineups, but it’s really hard to without money coming in, as for tickets. I think what I would do is… I’m not sure what I would do for tickets. Maybe keep the costs, try not to increase it, because it’s really unfair for students to have to pay costs in addition to costs they already pay. Their fees go toward ASUCI already, their fees go toward referendums like the Bus Love initiative, which is increasing, their fees go toward the New U referendum, and it’s becoming increasingly unfair for people who don’t have the money to have these stacked on them when they have to pay already. It’s really unfair. I would attempt to decrease prices while attempting a pretty good lineup. One thing I’d really want to do is have a forum right at summer and spring quarter of what kind of music they would like, what kind of music they wouldn’t like, and what kind of music would make the campus climate worse. Just more input from students. I think just having a better Shock experience that would cater to more people would be amazing.
NU: What sort of new approach would you bring to student services?
TD: I think everyone brings their own approach. I think my approach would be different just because I have so much experience with the other offices and other branches within ASUCI that I understand Student Services is only part of ASUCI. I understand that ASUCI for other people means so much different stuff. Right now, when people think of ASUCI, they usually think of Student Services. They usually think of concerts, but ASUCI is so much more than that. We advocate for students’ rights, we fight for classes on campus, we fight for multicultural ethnic studies classes that are being cut every year. We fight for student spaces on campus. I know that administration is cutting down on places where dance teams can practice. I know they’re cutting down on places where multicultural organizations have their culture nights. Things are slowly losing their space and I think, hopefully I would bring in a mentality like, “we need to work with the administration” and “we need to advocate for student rights at the same time,” because we can’t just always be angry at the administration for not giving everything we wanted, which is unreasonable. While working with them, we have to be very critical of what they do, and what we’re doing also, and have a good balance between being angry at administration and being cooperative with them. Fighting for things we want.