Starting conversations between students and legislators

Some of the newly-elected legislators in the state will be attending an open luncheon to mingle with students and answer questions in a panel format from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday in Room 307 of the Consortium Library.

Government Relations Director Terri Draeger said at the USUAA meeting Friday that she encouraged all students to attend the luncheon or submit questions that can be asked to legislators on their behalf.

She said after the meeting that the event is free and a taco bar, chips and dip, cookies and beverages will be provided to attendees.

Senator Andrew Lessig will begin asking the legislators questions at about 2:30 p.m. and give them about 2-3 minutes to respond to each question.

The Lunch with Legislators event has been taking place since 2009.

Questions can be submitted to Draeger at [email protected] edu.


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USUAA President Alejandra Buitrago nominated air traffic control Professor Sharon LaRue to be the faculty representative serving on the Green Fee Board.

She said USUAA adviser Paula Fish emailed faculty members in mass to solicit interested people.

Buitrago said six people responded, three were ineligible to serve in the role and LaRue was the only one to immediately respond to her when she tried to make contact with them. She also said LaRue wrote a thoughtful essay saying why she wanted to serve on the committee. She has experience with sustainability, such as starting a community garden, teaching about sustainability at Eagle River Elementary and serving on the UAA sustainability committee paper reduction work group. She has also worked to create a recycling guide for the UAA community, and devotes a week to sustainability in upper level classes she teaches.

Buitrago said, “I think she’ll become a great addition to the students we already have in the group.”

Senator Victor de Carli, who is also chair of the Sustainability Committee for USUAA, said, “I wonder how much we actually searched for people.”

He said while he realizes there is a deadline to fill the position on the committee, he thought there might be more people interested in being the faulty representative. Buitrago said she thought the faculty was well-informed about the position and expects them to follow up on filling positions they’re interested in. LaRue was voted into the position with eight people for, one against and two abstaining.

Carli and Senator Seen So abstained from the vote and Senator Max Bullock voted against.

Bullock said after the meeting that he voted against the appointment because he also thought there might be more qualified or interested faculty members who want to fill the position but might not have known  about it.

Bullock also updated the union about the bike share program he has been working on. He said it was approved and endorsed by the sustainability office this week and that he would be meeting with Bill Spindle, Vice Chancellor for administrative services, Wednesday to talk about the next step to making the program a reality.

The bike share program will provide bicycles students can rent for free with their Wolfcard from a kiosk for two hours at a time. Bullock started the program with the hope of assisting students commute across campus.

Carli also updated the union about the “Green and Gold H2O” bill. He said the Sustainability Committee is in the process of fine-tuning their proposal and gathering more signatures for support of the program.

He estimates the proposal should be perfected by next semester.


While there were no speakers signed up in advance of the meeting, Larissa Villar, community relationship manager for the American Cancer Society, informed the union that the society would be hosting a Relay for Life event sometime in the spring, possibly the second week of April.

She said, “The idea is cancer never sleeps,” so she hopes to host the relay for a span of 24 hours, possibly in the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

For more information, Villar can be contacted at 907-273-2070.


Election Results and Provost 

Fish said the number of students who voted in the election are up to 519 from 322 last fall.

Vice President Andrew McConnell said official results will be verified by 5 p.m. Tuesday, and can be seen on the USUAA website posted on the door of their office in Room 201 of the Student Union.

Buitrago also encouraged students to stay up to date about Provost and Vice Chancellor for Affair candidates who will on campus throughout the month of November. Charles Bullock, Deborah Hedeen and Elisha Baker are final applicants for the post.

For more information about each candidate and to find out more about their visits to UAA, go to chancellor/provost-search.cfm.