UA nominates three to represent

Every two years election booths are set up on the UAA campus and a handful of informed, or at least mildly intrigued students vote in special elections to elect Student Regent and Student Commissioner nominees. Only one student ran on the ballot this year, but any student could campaign to be a write-in, barring nomination eligibility.
Last month, a total of 141 students cast their vote; Karl Wing, the sole campaigner was elected as the Regent nominee and Senators Ashley Hice and Brandon Roulet were elected by write-in to be the Student Commissioner nominees.
There were 44 different write-ins nominations this year, including Mickey Mouse.
Several students initially applied to run for the two offices, but only Wing was eligible. Up to two nominees can be elected for both offices. Write-in nominees had to have five or more votes; both Hice and Roulet had six.
Respectively, they are hopeful to sit on the Board of Regents and the Alaska Commission for Postsecondary Education. All three main UA campuses held elections last month. Gov. Sarah Palin will now handpick from the pool one student for each office to serve for two years.
The ACPE is a 14-member commission that primarily addresses funding and student loans.
“The Commission also does outreach, like K-12 outreach,” current Student Commissioner and former USUAA President John Roberson said. “Going into elementary schools and having students understand that they can go to college. and also College Goal Sunday, where [ACPE] helps with getting students from across the state onto the college campus, to walk around and get them [acclimated to college life.]”
Roberson, a UAA public administration graduate student said the priority of the BOR is to get students interested in going to college and ensuring that there is funding available to those who need it.
A social work major, Hice said she was nervous about the Governor’s final decision, but hopeful she would be chosen. “My resume speaks volumes.”
Hice said she silently campaigned as a write-in for the ACPE nominee because she was passionate about making higher education financially affordable to all students.
“Not a lot of people know about the Commission,” Hice said. If chosen, she said she would make it a priority to find ways to make the work of ACPE more visible on campus, and the flow of information between the Commission and students move more freely.
Roulet, a double major in political science and history, said he was primarily concerned about a college degree being a financially obtainable goal for all students. He noted the current bill moving through the House, HB109 that would require students to have good credit to obtain a state loan.
“I want to get on the commission to make sure that this change in policy [should it pass] isn’t negatively affecting students – that a credit score isn’t keeping some very smart or gifted kid from going to college,” Roulet said. He noted, however, that he also understood the need for HB109. “At the same time, you can’t give out too many loans to students who aren’t going to pay them back and aren’t going to finish college – [and in turn] bankrupting an organization that can do a lot of good.”
Roulet said that although he is only a freshman and did not have a lot of experience with college life yet he has had a substantial amount of experience of working with groups and on commission.
“I’m involved with the UAA Model UN [project],” Roulet said. “And in high school I was in ROTC for four years and I was an officer for two. So I have that kind of experience, and I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at it too.”
Having sat on the Commission for the past two years, Roberson said that on a scale from one to 10, his experience of being a student representative has been a 10. He recommended that to be successful and to get the most out of the experience that his successor should be fearless.
“Don’t be scared to step in and ask the tough questions,” he said. “Because if you don’t, they will never get answered.”
Although BOR and ACPE have different functions, they both require a student voice.
The Board of Regents, an 11-member board deals with everything from the budgetary process – creating the annual capital budget, to overseeing and upholding student rights.
“It’s the ultimate governing body of the entire UA system,” Wing said. “Regents are generally supposed to be nonbiased, because they look at the betterment and the future of the university.”
If chosen for regent, Wing said he would focus on bringing the student voice to the Board. “I would do my very best to advocate for fair distribution of funds and an understanding of students’ needs and concerns.”
Wing said that with 33,000 students in the UA system, there are a multitude of opinions as to how things should be done. “Half of that population is here at the UAA Campus, which I think is beneficial for an Anchorage nominee. It’s easier access to a majority of the [student population].”
UAA William Andrews, the sitting student representative on the board, said being the voice of the student body is a tremendous responsibility. “As much fun as it is, it’s a lot of work, a lot of effort and you make a lot of sacrifices – personal and professional.”
Andrews, who served in the military, interned in the state legislature and served in student government said that at times, working with people who’d been working in politics for 20 years was discouraging. “But at the same time it’s really rewarding because you’re learning from theses people and you get to observe a really high caliber of leadership.”
Andrews advises his successor to try to use their own judgment. “It’s hard to represent every student in the whole state, because with 30, 000 students, you’re going to get a myriad of different opinions. Just go forward with the confidence that your peers thought you were the best candidate. and the governor picked