Do Students at the University of Nevada, Reno even know what ASUN is?

Madison Castagnola reports on what student government is like at the University of Nevada, Reno to help spread awareness on the leadership student body. New officials were recently elected but most went uncontested without having to run campaigns.

Students from ASUN at an event. Photo with permission to use by Jada Maglinao and Olivia Rice.

What is ASUN?

As a current senior at the University, I know little to nothing about ASUN after my four years here. From time to time candidates would come to sorority meetings and talk about why they want your vote and then you would never hear about ASUN again.

Directly from their website, ASUN stands for “The Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) is made up of every undergraduate student at the University of Nevada and provides a vehicle, through elected officials, to voice student concerns.” Essentially, they are the student government on campus.

ASUN is connected to a few outlets on campus including government, clubs, organizations and services; some popular ones include Campus Escort and Pack Provisions but how many students really know what ASUN does for us?

This is the website for ASUN which holds information to be informed on what they do for the student body and greater Reno community. To learn more about ASUN and what our student government is up to, visit their website nevadaasun.com.

The Problem

Every spring semester you start to see these signs just pop up on the lawn outside of the Joe with people’s names and sometimes the college to which they belong. Most recent was Stanfill/Fitzpatrick that was posted right outside the library for weeks. Students walk by all the time and may never question what these are for.

While some students have a general idea of what is being promoted or campaigned for, a lot of students don’t understand the work that ASUN puts into our campus, what we get from it and what ASUN provides for us.

When asking students about how they choose the candidate they vote for, “just whoever’s sign I saw on campus the most” is what Vinny Pellegrini, a senior at the university said.

“Yes, they are representatives of the student body that understands more of what students’ current lives are than the administrators” said Glenna Mestas. This was the general consensus from other students as well when asked if ASUN was important for the student body.

The sad fact is that not many students vote either. With the university having just about 16,500 undergraduates registered, only about 2,397 people voted in the 2022 ASUN Election.

This is a picture of what the University provides during election season. Students Canvas’s have a pop up that goes through the voting steps so that you are clear before you vote. Picture taken from my personal Canvas.

Insiders Scoop

After interviewing some students from the university, I was able to get a couple questions answered by current students in our ASUN government.

“My biggest advice to know more about ASUN, is to follow our social media accounts @​​nevadaasun to know what we are doing and to get general information.” said Jada Maglinao, “The other way would be to talk to people who you know are in it, or pop by one of our many events to learn more about it.”

Maglinao is an event programmer for ASUN and for this term she helped plan, Wolf It Down, Howl Fest, Howl Harvest, Coffee Crawl, Family Weekend, and more. “We are funded by students, every credit you take you pay a certain amount of money that goes in the ASUN budget,” Maglinao said. I think this was something to share that a lot of students aren’t aware of. All of the great events we have on campus are funded by us.

“Our Government Affairs department helps students become civically engaged, they help to activate us in government, they recently went to Washington D.C. Our ASUN Senate is able to write bills and resolutions to pass along to higher powers of the university, showing support from the students,” Maglinao explained. “These explanations are very simple, and my understanding, but if people are interested in more you can check out our websites and get the information of your representatives, or the right officer to help.”

Olivia Rice is another ASUN programmer who shared her experience of her second year with ASUN. “I see ASUN as an excellent resource for increasing student engagement on campus and connecting with each other,” Rice said. “At the end of the day, we work for the students, and we want to create a welcoming, inclusive campus environment that everyone feels comfortable on.”

Jada Maglinao our current event programmer for the ASUN at an event showing support for the Wolf Pack community. Picture with permission to use from Jada Maglinao.

Moving Forward

After hearing some concerns expressed by students such as “once people are voted in you don’t hear much more from ASUN on what they vote on or even talk about,” by Blake Laub, a Winter 2021 graduate, there are some helpful tips to stay in the know.

  1. Go to the debates that every presidential and vice president candidates have so that you can really learn about the platforms they are running on.
  2. Find out who your college’s senators are. They are great resources for information when it comes to your specific college and can get you in touch with the right people if you need someone outside of your college.
  3. Stay in touch. Most candidates have social media pages and ASUN even has their own website so you can stay up to date with events, projects and more.

These are great ways to get started when learning about ASUN and what they do for the student body at University of Nevada, Reno.

“Not every student has solid knowledge on what ASUN does,” Rice admitted. “And that’s why I think it’s important that ASUN is transparent and upfront about the decisions that they make and where the student funds are allocated.”

Reporting by Madison Castagnola for the Reynolds Sandbox

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