1. How do you feel about transparency?
It’s not a coincidence that the first platform bullet point on our webpage, teamaspire.org, reads: “Team Aspire recognizes the need for a transparent and accountable student government and will work with all students and entities for a complete disclosure of all government activities and fund allocation.” We understand that in order to create a climate of success, progress and trust, accountability is necessary.
2. Why do you think students don’t care about the campus elections, and why should students care about elections?
We understand how difficult it is to go to school, work and to have families. With all the responsibilities that come with being a student, it can be difficult to prioritize political engagement with the university, especially given the mystery surrounding the functions and sway of student government. Caring about the elections goes beyond allocation of student fees; students should consider members of student government as ambassadors to the administration and state government working in the students’ best interests. Members of student government are essentially employees of the students who are given scholarships and stipends paid by student fees. When they vote, they are deciding whom they would want to work for them.
3. What is the most important part of your platform?
We believe that our initiatives for transparency and accountability come first – they are the foundation for a relationship of trust. With these beginnings, we can establish an open collaboration between the student government and student body to accomplish other worthwhile goals for our university.
4. What makes you the best qualified for the position, explain each of your qualifications/experience?
Each one of us has had years of experience in leadership roles within our communities.
Before coming to the United States from her home country of Taiwan, Cathy Lin worked as a Registered Nurse until she came to Utah to earn her US nursing certification. Working in the best interest of the individual and thinking critically about basic needs of others, Cathy makes helping people a priority. Since coming to Utah, she has overcome daunting odds. Despite English being her second language, she has become an authority on anatomy, and currently is a Teaching Assistant for our anatomy classes. With both the training of a nurse and the dedication of a student who graduated at the top of her class, Cathy hopes to bring her set of skills to serving the student body, preparing students from the ground up for success.
Corey Mann, a psychology major, works with at-risk young women, mentoring for healthy relationship skills while setting an example of compassion and openness. Of paramount importance to Corey is addressing UVU’s low rates for graduation and retention among women. His passion is to serve others, focusing on creating support systems which will help the individual develop a successful, productive life. With his background in psychology, Corey hopes to work closely with the Women’s Success Center and the Center for Student Success and Retention to create safety nets at UVU for not only women, but at-risk students.
Aaron Samudio, a Social Work major, guided adventure therapy for at-risk youth and adults for five years before coming to UVU. He worked closely with psychologists, caseworkers, business leaders and youth to help develop a specialized program for students with learning differences such as ADD, ADHD, NLD, OCD and Asperger’s Syndrome. After this period, he traveled to Taiwan to live for a year and learned Mandarin Chinese at Kaohsiung Normal University while volunteering with local charities and teaching English to local youth. Aaron has a passion for helping others and immersing himself in different cultures.
Brock Ward, a Physics major, has gained his experience mentoring high school students, traveling abroad, thriving academically and participating in various sports. He has a passion for learning languages and for cultural enrichment. This passion for diversity leads him to consider all points of view and relate well with others across boundaries of language, culture and belief. He feels that in the office for which he is running, serious consideration of all aspects of life and culture must be given before important decisions can be made. He aims to help build a UVU where all cultures, religions, and beliefs can be openly expressed and represented, and where considerations of the majority are weighed along with consideration for the minority.
Finally, through a unified vision of transparency and accountability, Team Aspire believes in a student government that is honest and hardworking. We believe in a diverse UVU that works with individual students across a broad range of backgrounds to create an academic experience that prepares them to thrive in a professional setting.
5. What efforts will you make to include staff, students, and the community with your endeavors?
It is absolutely crucial to inform and involve the entire campus community – students, faculty and administration. We have visited with and worked hard to understand the concerns of the many departments and clubs, and will continue to consult on a personal basis with these entities regularly throughout the year.
Through surveys, polls and forums, we will rely on the students for input on how best to allocate the funds for which we are responsible, and other important decisions that impact the school.
6. What is one tangible thing that you plan to do if elected, that you will be recognized for?
Through research and collaboration with influential people within the UVU community, Team Aspire has set a priority on a university-wide support system for first year and struggling students. By focusing on relationship-based mentoring and attention to basic needs, it is our sincere hope to leave a lasting program in place which will work to elevate not only the individual student but the professional reputation of UVU as well.
7. What motivates you to be involved with UVUSA, and run in the elections?
We wanted to see more transparency and accountability in the way UVU is run. By cultivating an atmosphere of honesty and trust within the campus community, the potential for departments and organizations to collaborate for the good of the students is limitless. Seeing this collaborative potential, we became passionate about making it a reality.
8. What sets you apart and makes you different in comparison to other teams?
We would rather emphasize our passion and vision for UVU than flash the non-incumbency card, but maybe our outsider status matters almost as much as the sincerity and scope of our vision. It means we are bringing new ideas to the table and have the unique ability to look at the issues that face our university with fresh eyes.
Our platforms are specific. Our plans are realistic. We feel that the students of UVU deserve an intelligent dialogue about the workings of the University they will one day call alma mater.
9. What do you consider your weakness, and how do you plan to improve it?
It’s no secret that none of our leadership experience comes directly from involvement in student government. While this could be perceived as a weakness, our individual successes elsewhere in life set us up to approach student government with innovation and inclusiveness.
10. Is there anything else you would like to say or add?
The insight and support we have received from those who share our vision is nothing short of astounding. We encourage those who have ideas and concerns to keep them coming. We encourage those who support us to spread the word. And everyone, please vote from March 5-8. Student Government elections matter.