The Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i (ASUH) serve and represent the full-time, undergraduate student body at UH Mānoa. According to their official website, ASUH “serves by utilizing the student government fees to fund diversified student programs and events on-campus. Every semester, money is allocated primarily through our scholarships, Registered Independent Organizations (RIO) funding and senate act funding.”
The student government was chartered by the UH Mānoa Board of Regents in 1912, and will begin its 106th year this coming school year. The overall vision of ASUH is to “empower students through advocacy.” Their mission extends to advocating for student success, communicating purposefully and pursuing excellence in order to encourage undergraduates to be a beacon of positive change.
ASUH, as well as the Student Activity and Program Fee Board, manages funding for RIOs each year. Through the Committee of Finance. This committee is responsible for organizing and making recommendations for RIO funding and handling measures that pertain to the appropriation of ASUH funds and other financial affairs. Other ASUH committees include: campus life, elections and student affairs. The committees are held by elected ASUH senate members.
The ASUH senate is comprised of the ASUH Executive Officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer), four Senator-At-Large, and 30 college senators for each college at UH Mānoa.
To get involved in ASUH, students can become a senator and a part of the decision making process at the University. Students will also be given the opportunity to meet with university administration, faculty and staff and even government officials, to help oversee the UH Mānoa campus. Granted this opportunity, it is a remarkable way to make an impact on your concentrated college and develop your skills in leadership, public speaking and management.
In an email interview, ASUH President Jannah Lyn Dela Cruz shared how her position directly impacts students. “I speak on behalf of our students, so anything the ASUH approves as a resolution or any interview that I do should accurately reflect the general student body perspective. In this sense, it’s more about students impacting my position, but what I represent could also affect students if I don’t represent them well.”
She talked about her goals for the upcoming semester as well. Some key priorities include: a Reusable Utensil Campaign, which hopes to reduce plastic waste on campus, another initiative to increase classes with cost-free textbooks through the OER Grant Incentive Program, plus more mental health services.
More information about Dela Cruz and her ASUH journey can be found here.
Meanwhile, the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) concentrates on representing the academic interests of over 5,000 graduate students at UH Mānoa.
Their website’s “about” page states, “We place a particular emphasis on fostering excellence in research at both the PhD and Master’s level. As such, we endeavor to facilitate research initiatives through our Grants and Awards program, as well as other funding network opportunities. We also provide input on all issues affecting UH Mānoa graduate students. With representatives sitting on over 40 university committees, and sustained participation in a wide variety of graduate student, campus, and community events, we strive to provide students with a supportive academic environment.”
In mentioning their goals, the four primary functions of the GSO are: to provide representative input on policies and decisions affecting UH Mānoa graduate students in general or a subgroup, provide an advisory body to the administration and faculty of UH Mānoa, provide an organization from which graduate student representatives shall be selected for recommendation to serve upon campus-wide committees and initiate and maintain co-curricular programs that are relevant to UH Mānoa students.
Similarly, the GSO has a council that still has several open committee chair positions for the 2018-19 academic year.
These two organizations massively impact student affairs, so participating or reaching out to your representatives can ignite change.