Activities Build Unity Among ASUC Leaders

Alex Ding is the executive vice president of the ASUC. Respond to [email protected]

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In recent days, my office has come under question for our support of a senate bill designed to increase cohesion and improve communication between ASUC senators ("ASUC Self-Funding Ignores Students," Oct. 17). I strongly believe that the programs proposed will improve the ASUC Senate and allow it to serve students in a more efficient manner.

The senate generates its power and influence from the diverse individuals that constitute its membership. Frequently, these diverse opinions produce policy outcomes that have a positive impact for the student community. However, such a wide range of ideas and opinions can lead to bitter and protracted debate. While often productive, history has shown that such debate can degenerate into nothing more than a stream of angry words, characterized by personal attacks and vicious name calling.

Conscious of this dark history, many senators approached my office, requesting an increase in the number of opportunities for the senators to interact outside the politicized confines of the senate chambers. After the Senate Leadership Training Institute at the beginning of the semester, my office sponsored a team-building ropes course day. Since this activity was highly successful and enriching for all involved, I have every intention of continuing to sponsor projects that allow senators to learn more about each other as people, not politicians. Such shared understanding can lead only to better communication on the senate floor and an improved ASUC.

My passion for these projects is so strong that I feel it appropriate to dedicate a portion of my office budget to the sponsorship of said events. However, it would not be possible for me to sponsor the desired number of activities given only the resources allocated to my office. If the senate does reject this proposal, I will continue to plan smaller projects from my own office budget that have previously and will continue to help increase cohesion among senators.

Regardless of the outcome of the bill, I have no plans to reject or ignore the will of the senate. Nor will I request indirect funding of these projects. As a former senator and vice chairman of the finance committee, I have the utmost respect for the decisions made by the senate and I will not make any attempts to circumvent their decision or play politics with student dollars.

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