Meet the ASUCC officer candidates
This year’s ASUCC election will have newly-elected officers dealing with the impact of reduced funding for the coming school year and a tumultuous time with the potential of another all-online term. Faced with these prospects and the questions of their peers each candidate, running unopposed, took to Facebook live to participate in a “Meet the Candidates” forum hosted by Vyla Grindberg, a current ASUCC officer.
Elected officers of the Associated Students of Umpqua Community College act as a conduit to the UCC board, and each ASUCC officer’s position fills a pivotal role in the campus ecosystem as officers sit on working campus committees that help fulfill the college mission. Not only do these officers work within their elected field and on campus committees, but they must also serve as individuals whom students can look toward for guidance and support.
This election cycle, three different open positions have had candidates apply, with Kamilah Mirza running for ASUCC president, Lisa Clark running for ASUCC business manager, and Tasha Powell-Oliverson running for ASUCC activities manager. Although each candidate is running unopposed, they must still receive at least 10% of the total votes cast or at least 20 votes total, whichever is greater, in order to become elected.
“Pakistani-American, student and parent” Kamilah Mirza hopes to utilize her wide cultural background and connections to foster an environment of inclusivity and acceptance on campus. Mirza has been going to UCC for about a year, pursuing a degree in human services with the end goal of becoming a therapist.
Mirza stated that she enjoys working with other people and that she really looks forward to the community engagement aspect of the position in the “Meet the Candidates” forum. In the same forum, Mirza emphasized that success will be measured in how she’s able to interact with ASUCC as a whole, including what projects she’s able to be involved in, as well as how she’s able to interact with the students and the community at UCC.
Mirza also showed a marked interest in prioritizing Project C.A.N.S., which is one of ASUCC’s premier student service programs. Project C.A.N.S. is an on-campus resource that students in difficult times can utilize to receive food and personal hygiene items free of charge, and any student enrolled at the college level and taking credits through UCC has access to the pantry. She also commented on how she would make sure that struggling students and her fellow officers knew the different kinds of help available on campus, such as the tutors available online and at the library.
Lisa Clark is a mother of three who is currently an AAOT student at UCC, hoping to eventually earn a bachelor’s in accounting and/or business. Because of her aspirations in the field of business, she felt that the position of Business Manager was perfect for her, as she is well-versed in bookwork and organization.
Early on in the “Meet the Candidates” forum, Clark recounts how when she was a young adult, she didn’t think much of going to college, but once she had children encouraged them to seek and complete a college education, also stating how much she was enjoying attending college now. As Business Manager, Clark hopes to use her love of learning to work towards initially getting to know the intricacies of her position. For her, success is making sure all of her colleagues have what they need to get their jobs done.
Clark has a bevy of previous leadership experiences that she can draw from and apply in her role as business manager, with 13 years of leading Girl Scouts and five years of leading Cub scouts under her belt, as well as her leadership roles in her church and her previous lines of work.
Like Mirza, Clark advocated for continuing Project C.A.N.S., as well as the well-received gas card program and the toiletry distribution program, and with a smile and two thumbs up encouraged Mirza that she would support new projects that were introduced.
Tasha Powell-Oliverson has been an ASUCC senator since the spring of last year before running for activities manager. During her time as senator, Powell-Oliverson focused on running activities as well as engaging with students and the community, such as when she set up the Saving Grace pet adoption event this year.
Powell-Oliverson is pursuing her AAOT at UCC, and she hopes to eventually accomplish a bachelor’s in social work at OSU, with a minor in queer studies, in line with her strong advocacy and support for the LGBTQ+ community. One of Powell-Oliverson’s bigger concerns about the current and upcoming terms is that due to the shift to an online campus, the task of student engagement is difficult. She anticipates that her biggest challenge would be adapting her position to better reach students.
Powell-Oliverson is a self-proclaimed people person, and although meetings have been moved to being over Zoom, she still revels in the semblance of face-to-face interaction that the calls give her. Powell-Oliverson stressed that the calls were like a lifeline to her, and that she felt a connection with her teammates during each meeting.
Powell-Oliverson also has a great deal of experience with leadership that started with a Community Leadership Institute course put on by NeighborWorks Umpqua. Through NeighborWorks, she went on to the national leadership event held in Houston, Texas, and subsequently began appearing at Ford Foundation leadership events, in which she learned a great deal about being a community builder. As of late, she’s been on the initial board of some small local organizations, including the Roseburg PFLAG chapter, where she helped put together the pride events.
Students interested in applying for future ASUCC positions would normally be encouraged to head to the student center and inquire within; however, due to the changes on campus, Vyla Grindberg recommends looking at https://www.umpqua.edu/join-asucc for more information regarding qualifications for office, as well as participating in the virtual leadership meetings hosted at noon every Tuesday through Zoom. The ASUCC Facebook page also posts dates for many of the upcoming events and meetings, as well as photos and videos of previous functions hosted by ASUCC. Officer applications are due by 4:00 PM on April 24th.
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