Forum makes students top priority



Campus Times
October 8, 2004

Yelena Ovcharenko
Staff Writer

Associated Students Federation Forum President Travis Berry plans to restructure ASF to make it more student-oriented.

Last year ASF was able to establish better relationships and communication with commuters. This year ASF will focus on student relations with the student government.

ASF's first change is to have class representatives instead of senators.

Berry brought the example of how different freshmen are from seniors and how they struggle with different issues.

Freshmen are making transitions to college while seniors worry about internships and life after college.

He emphasized that it is difficult for senators to nurture a group with such diverse needs.

“Everything is so generalized,” Berry said.

With class representatives ASF plans to serve its constituents in a better way and accommodate the students' needs.

Senators and executive board officers will go on a retreat this weekend for training led by Leadership Development and Transition Programs Director and ASF Advisor Brian Armstrong.

Restructuring ASF from an activities board to a student government is the retreat's goal, said Dana McJunkin, ASF vice president.

Another change that Berry proposed is to have ASF take issues to the board of trustees. The increasing tuition is one of the issues that Berry plans to bring to their attention.

“I really want to bring the students' issues to the table,” Berry said.

Armstrong's background in the Leadership Education and Development program will help him support ASF and assist it with becoming a productive student body.

“My goal for them is to become a stronger, more efficient organization and teach them the baseline of skills to function in an organization,” Armstrong said.

Berry said that he is able to serve the University of La Verne better as an incumbent president because he knows what he has to do.

Berry does not have to take an extra semester to learn how to run an organization and plans to be more vocal during his second term.

During the spring election ULV had a contested presidential election for the first time in three years. At the election, 25 percent of undergraduates voted. This is an increase from 10 percent to 15 percent when compared with the previous election.

“I think it was fantastic to see an actual election between two strong candidates,” Armstrong said.

“This campus needs more of that.”

Apathy is Berry's main concern. Berry does not keep office hours and encourages students to walk into his office whenever his door is open. Berry puts in an average of 20 hours a week for ASF-related work.

“I want them to know that, yes, they have a voice and, yes, they have power,” Berry said.

Berry motivates students to share their opinions with ASF and urges them to feel free to speak with him.

“We really are the voice of the people. If you have any questions come,” McJunkin said.

All are encouraged to attend ASF meetings on Mondays in the President's Dining Room from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Yelena Ovcharenko can be reached at yovcharenko@ulv.edu.