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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Reforming ASM

The great thing about ASM is that it always changes, yet always stays the same. Just look at this past semester. In September, we spoke with ASM Chair Brandon Williams and Vice Chair Adam Johnson who pledged that they would bring a fresh approach to ASM. They made a point to claim that a lack of strong leadership was one ASM's chief problems last year. Meanwhile, new SSFC Chair Matt Manes prepared to introduce the Campus Services Fund, a system that would provide ASM with some serious teeth while completely overhauling how student services are funded.

But as of now, the CSF appears to be everything but dead, and ASM's leadership appears to be as removed from their student base as ever. For any student who has been on this campus for four years, it's hard to imagine ASM ever changing. But just a few simple changes could make ASM both more accessible and make it easier for wholesale reform, like the kind sought in the CSF. Most elected representatives know exactly what these changes are, too—but eventually, somebody is going to need to step up.

A good first step would be improving online access to ASM. Williams and Johnson have both said ASM's website needs a change. However, the only action taken so far is to search for a student programmer who will earn little more than an average student hourly wage. Any competent website programmer can earn considerably more than that on a usual project. ASM needs to treat this issue seriously and put more money into developing an entirely new website—one that actually contains all the necessary information on student representatives, has a fully updated calendar and information on meeting agendas, proposals and initiatives.

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ASM does a good job with their social network platforms on Facebook and Twitter, and the ASM Student Voice blog has been a great source of worthwhile updates. But that level of attention and effort needs to be applied to every bit of ASM's outreach, starting with the website.

In addition, ASM must take its outreach beyond the virtual world. This semester, it seems ASM has relegated much of this job to Chief of Staff Tom Templeton, but one person cannot make the rounds on the entire campus. Every representative on Student Council should be reaching out to student groups, as well as catching freshmen early and educating them about ASM. Get to them during SOAR and Welcome Week when they can't ignore the speakers in front of them, and talk to them in simple language instead of ASM jargon. Proposals like the CSF look a lot scarier than they actually are because they are layered behind a wall of bureaucratic terminology.

We realize increasing student involvement is a hard task.

Much of what ASM deals with is very dry material, and many of their most dedicated members are already overworked.

But in order for the system to truly become both effective and worthwhile, more needs to be done. So let's look forward to spring semester with cautious optimism, because the possibility for change is there. It simply needs a push.

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