At the forefront of student and university governance, the Associated Students of Oregon State University is the bridge between students and the university’s administration, having made numerous accomplishments throughout the years.
From helping students with legal matters through the Office of Advocacy, to SafeRide, ASOSU’s initiative to provide safe transportation around Corvallis, Ore., providing better resources and programs for students has been fundamental to ASOSU’s objectives.
Isabel Núñes Pérez, ASOSU president for the 2020-21 academic year, recalls numerous victories from the past.
“[ASOSU] played a big role in providing testimony in the state legislature, so that universities can endorse certain positions and ballot measures that people can vote on during voting cycles, and also on the legislative sessions,” Pérez said.
With COVID-19, most areas of the university are working remotely. For ASOSU, it is no different, but Pérez ensures that working remotely is not stopping progress from being made.
“We are happy we can help students; recently, we were able to help a group that has been working with advocacy for undocumented students for three years, and they reached out for extra help, something that we were able to provide through ASOSU,” Pérez said.
Another important accomplishment ASOSU achieved in 2020 was passing a resolution for students to have the ability to change the grading basis of a course to satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
“Currently we have a lot of time to look into bills that we want to sponsor,” Pérez said. “The benefits of us being remote, is that it is easier to submit testimony to the state’s legislature for bills and hearings, so we can help in that process.”
This academic year’s ASOSU Vice President Metzin Rodriguez, said last year’s administration was able to provide menstrual and other hygiene products to the students, products often affected by pink tax.
“As students, we tried to make sure students turn in their ballots, we collaborate with different administrations, fraternities and sororities, and work with different representatives and senators about the Black Lives Matter movement, to allocate resources for students,” Rodriguez said.
A part of ASOSU’s priorities is providing resources for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and other undocumented students, in partnership with ASOSU’s advocacy, to make sure these students feel supported and included.
“That’s a big win for us. No student is illegal, and we are going to make sure that every student feels protected as long as they are at OSU,” Rodriguez said.
Student advocate at the Office of Advocacy, Daniel R. Dietz, is confident in the fulfillment of ASOSU’s purpose.
“The Office of Advocacy’s goal is to prioritize campus relationships, understanding that sustainable change is cultivated by long-term connections between people,” Dietz said. “To see student leaders navigate the challenges of this moment, leveraging scarce resources to meet student needs with empathy and transparency, gives me hope and I would urge any student who is interested to get involved.”
Currently working on breaking stigmas around environmental justice, collaborating with campus groups to achieve sustainability goals and initiatives on International Women’s Day and awareness months, ASOSU plans to keep adding on to their long list of accomplishments.
“We want to make sure every student’s voice is heard... and that the university knows what is important to them, and what they can do to better students’ lives,” Rodriguez said.