Looney reaches out to connect students, ASG

The office of the new ASG Secretary, Nate Looney, is deceptively bare.
The desk and walls look plain and empty, but Looney is hard at work with several plans for the up-coming year, which have been taking up most of his time during the weeks leading up to the start of the semester.

As secretary, Looney acts as the liaison between ASG and the student body.

As the chief of public relations, he gets the word out through e-mails, group meetings, discussion and all points in between.

One of his biggest projects this semester is increasing the knowledge students have about ASG, which has been embarrassingly low at some points, Looney said

Looney hopes students will become more familiar with ASG through one of two avenues of interest.

The first involves a “recruitment plan” for encouraging more people of various backgrounds to participate directly with ASG, and the second involves simply trying to have wide-open communication with the student body.

“[The recruitment plan] aims at getting a lot of people involved-people from freshman to non-traditional students to housings students,” Looney said.

The recruitment plan is not aimed at any particular group that is currently marginal in ASG. Rather, the plan is to put more effort into the overall system of recruiting.

“We’re not targeting specific groups…we’re being a better recruitment body as a whole,” Looney said.

ASG will also host several educational meetings providing information on how to run campaigns that reach more students.

“With a stronger candidate orientation and by teaching [potential senators] how to run, how to campaign and by giving them examples, each senatorial candidate will be more prepared to run a campaign,” Looney said.

The best way to educate the entire student body about ASG is just a matter of being seen, Loony said.

ASG officials will be taking steps toward being more visible on campus this year, which started with the annual cookout Monday.

“It is important to be seen because it makes students know where to turn when they want to express their concerns and opinions about student life,” Looney said.

“The executives worked very hard to be visible but a lot of times stuff came up and it just kind of got put on the back-burner,” he said. “This go around, we’re really putting emphasis on being visible at all costs.”

“[We want students to] know who they can talk to…know student government does exist and the students involved in it are there to try to make the campus and the university a better place for all students.

“You don’t want to be cramped in the office when the real work is out talking to students.”

Perhaps Looney’s office looks empty because it’s not the place he plans to spend most of his time. He said it’s important to at least make the offer to as many students as possible that the student government is available and ready to help.

The main focus for the next few weeks is going to be aimed at this visibility, Looney said.

“We’re treating this like any other campaign,” he said. “We’re gonna be out there. We’re gonna be aggressive.”

– Arkansas Traveler, Aug. 28, 2005

[Original profile available here.]

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