Duties and responsibilities of Tri-executives, Representatives-at-large
For the past week, the three tickets running in this spring’s UCSU elections have promised to represent the many voices on campus. Sidewalks have been chalked and classrooms have been covered with flyers, all promising that a select group of leaders will advocate on behalf of the issues that matter most to students.
On Friday evening, the polls will close and campaigning will end. The final results will award victory to three new Tri-executives and four new Representatives-at-large, all of whom are be set to bring their promises and platform to the office.
It’s a big job, especially when considering the $34 million budget that UCSU is ultimately responsible for. Current Tri-executive Hadley Brown, a senior English major, said the primary task of student leaders is to keep focus on student interests.
“A big part is being in communication with students about what’s going on in the university community and helping students to empower themselves,” she said.
If the overarching goal of each position is to provide representation for students, it can be broken down into a number of duties that must be managed over the course of the term. According to the UCSU constitution, Tri-executives are the principle representatives of the student body, in charge of everything from presenting the student fee budget to the Board of Regents, to the appointment of directors on all commissions.
Brown said being a Tri-executive is like holding a full-time, 40 hour per week job. She said a lot of this time is spent in meetings and doing a fair amount of writing.
It all goes toward delving into the most critical issues facing students at any one time, Brown said. This year, she said Tri-executives have worked to address issues of civic engagement and social justice. More specifically, when Bruce Benson was chosen as the sole finalist for president of the university, she said they organized a second hearing where students could really ask him questions and voice their concerns.
“We definitely just work with students on a regular basis,” she said. “It’s a lot of work.”
Looking to inherit this workload is Chance Heath, a junior international affairs major running for Tri-executive on the One ticket. Heath is currently a Representative-at-large in UCSU, a position that will also welcome fresh faces at the conclusion of these elections.
The constitution says that members of the Representative Council “shall establish university-wide priorities,” which Heath simplified as the writing and passing of legislation that affects campus policy. He said the most important piece of legislation reviewed by the reps-at-large is the budget bill, which determines student fees and the level of programming.
“You try to accomplish representing all the students and their concerns in Legislative Council,” Heath said.
Heath also said the Representative Council is in charge of allocating money to student groups out of a budget of $25,000 to pay for their events and travel. He said the life of a Representative-at-large includes an average of five hours per week spent in meetings, with more time spent on staying educated and working with students on campus issues.
In running for Tri-executive, Heath said there would be a transition between focusing on legislation to working toward forging relationships on behalf of the students, particularly in dealing with administration.
“You have to be very receptive to the comments and concerns of the students as a whole,” he said. “If you are narrow-minded, you will not succeed as a tri-executive.”
Brittany Havey, a sophomore pre-journalism and mass communication major running for Tri-executive with the Solidarity ticket, said leaders must make themselves accessible for students to voice their concerns. She said it is about being relatable, not unapproachable.
“As a leader, you really have to be able to listen, and not talk all the time and act like you know everything,” she said.
Havey also said she felt her ticket was the most approachable by reaching out to groups that feel underrepresented.
“You have to start somewhere to let people know that they can make differences,” she said.
Dustin Farivar, a junior political science major running with Drive, said a solid student leader will have the ability to step outside the comfort zone and serve communities by actively engaging with the leadership. He said progress on campus cannot be made without building a community first.
“It’s important for students to engage, because UCSU does have a voice on this campus,” Farivar said.
With all her experience this year as a Tri-executive, Brown said UCSU tends to attract a lot of members interested only in their own upward mobility. These people, she said, do not make the best leaders.
“The people who do the best work for students in UCSU are the ones who just have a desire to serve others and work with people,” Brown said.
Candidates on all other tickets said they felt like they had desire in pursuing their position and all the duties associated with it.
“I’m not doing this so I can put this on my resume,” Havey said. “I’m not doing this to try to be Hillary Clinton.”
Heath spoke not only on his own behalf, but commended the attitudes and dedication of everyone running with One.
“They are all very committed to trying to represent students, and they have that work ethic,” he said.
Farivar said the right person to hold an office in UCSU was someone not only with commitment, but a proven track record of accomplishment. He also said it was about recognizing that the job is not about the person as an individual.
“It’s my commitment to open the door to all students to be engaged and invested in the CU community,” he said.
Election returns will come in Friday evening, giving only one ticket the opportunity to live up to these promises.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer George Plaven at firstname.lastname@example.org.