5-26-10 Vice-Chair Johnson May Report

(WARNING! Lots of text ahead.  This is verbatim from the report I have submitted to Student Council and Chair Williams (also known as Brandon W. here on The Campus First!) and as such is wordy.  I will be writing a more user friendly version in the next week or so, highlighting a few points of my goals. 

Wednesday, 26 May, 2010

Re: Chair Report

During my tenure as Vice-Chair thus far, I have been focused on learning the intriciacies of the position and what is expected of it.  This includes, but is not limited to, United Council organization, planning fall campaigns, and communicating with other chairs about individual and overall goals for the organization during the 17th Session.

Specifically, most of my work has been regarding the upcoming United Council convention and working on the logistics for the event from afar.  This has proved to be a great challenge in communicating with interested members of ASM, staff, United Council board members, and in making arrangements for transportation and lodging once at the event.  The details of organizing the delegation’s travel proved to be more difficult than expected and I am grateful for the experience of Vice-Chair Emeritus Templeton and ASM staff member Kelly Krein in helping me wade through administrative details and in how things have been done in the past.

I have also spent a considerable amount of time writing legislation for the June ASM Student Council meeting regarding campaigns for the fall that have been referred to me or the External Affairs committee.  Since the committee had not met before the end of school, I took up the role of examining and writing these proposals myself.  Each of them requires more fine-tuning and I expect fruitful conversation to take place on June 12.

As for my specific goals for the 17th session, I would like to focus on a comprehensive program enhancing communication for all levels of ASM: from ASM to administration (via Shared Gov and individual meetings), intra-ASM (committee to committee to Council), and from ASM to the general student body.

Focusing on each one individually will not have the lasting impression we wish to leave with this session and each MUST be tackled as one cohesive policy.  I will be expecting much out of the chairs, particularly the open committee chairs, this session and will be in almost-daily contact to help them reach our collective goals. I am already looking forward to the fall kickoff!

For the details of each part of my plan, we look at the constituent parts.  First, we have ASM/Administration communication.  To reach these goals we must focus on three key changes that will be useful in the 17th Session.

  1. The Chief of Staff position will serve as a point person for ASM communication with administration in consultation with the Chair/Vice-Chair.  The CoS should have contacts within the administration and should be able to connect committee chairs to key players in the administration.
  2. Each chair should identify relevant members of the administration and contact them ASAP to coordinate meetings.  Chair Fergus of Ac. Affairs would be in contact with the CFYE for example and Chair Polstein of Leg. Affairs should speak with Don Nelson in the Dean of Students Office about state lobbying.  These, of course, are merely one example for each and should be expanded upon.
  3. Establish a REGULAR meeting time with these contacts.  Once every other month or so would probably be fine.  The one exception would be Chair Polstein as the biennial budget will likely consume many more meetings with Mr. Nelson.

For intra-ASM communication the focus is two-fold:

  1. The Shared Gov Directors MUST be competant and willing to engage with the other committees and the committee chairs must also be willing to engage these directors with their campaigns and ideas.
  2.  Committee chairs should bring forward more ideas/campaigns to Council, not necessarily for approval but for discussion on how to proceed.  We all know emailing the list is not the best process usually to encourage responses so by bringing it straight to Council during a meeting, we ensure a marginal amount of awareness and discussion.


Finally, the ASM/student body channel needs to be wide and vast, but not crudely so.  A specific and limited goal needs to be set in order to have incremental progress.  We cannot expect to be perfectly relevant and respected on campus within the span of a single session.  We need to set a good example so that other sessions may follow and achieve what we simply are not able to in the time allowed.  However, my specific ideas for campus outreach are numerous but the highlights are outlined below.

  1. Freshman focus.  It is clear that many ideas become implanted the first few months on campus so the earlier we hit students with the message of what ASM is and why they should care, the better.  SOAR would be ideal but this year, the resource fair was cancelled so that tactic must be re-evaluated.  Representative Bemis had the excellent idea of freshman dorm orientations to reach out to freshman early in the year.  Each dorm has a central commons area, even if its just a few couchs and a bunch of chairs.  ASM should sponsor a session at each dorm (including the private dorms like Lucky, etc.) and spend an hour talking about what ASM is and how they can get involved.  It would also essentially serve as a backup kickoff, or can be used earlier in the year to encourage even more people to attend the kickoff.
  2.  Social media should be something ALL members of council engage in.  Use your facebook, twitter, and blogs to promote ASM ideas and to encourage discussion on pending legislation or to gather input as to what we should work on.  For those members of council without facebook/twitter/or a blog, I would highly encourage that they look into getting one as the potential is extraordinary.
  3. Working on issues that DIRECTLY affect students is the surest path to success.  Enacting feel good legislation (“We support the idea of puppies and kitties as adorable animals” is a good example of that) may give us the temporary boost in ratings (if we actually took ratings) but long term support is built from actual on-campus work like expanding library hours, expanding financial aid, promoting smart growth of on-campus facilities, improving the reputation and value of the UW degree, and helping students live their daily lives better.
  4. Focusing on THESE issues is how we ensure that the student body will actually care what we do.


I’m excited for this session and I look forward to enacting these plans.

Respectfully Submitted,

Adam M. Johnson

Vice-Chair, Associated Students of Madison


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