ASUCD President Ivan Carrillo is pacing in front of the senate table. The fervor in his voice is rising and his face is heating up as he delivers a passionate message about student rights.
Meanwhile, Vice President Molly Fluet sits in the middle of it all, her fingers laced and her face calm. She sternly pounds the gavel as the table gets unruly.
This is the image at many of this year’s senate meetings – two leaders, starkly opposite. As their term comes to a close at tonight’s meeting, they reflect on a year that changed their entire perceptions of government, as well as themselves.
“I think we came from two different bases,” said Fluet, a senior history major. “Our differences worked in their own realms, and we didn’t always mesh the best. But that helped us to deal with the difference of opinions the senators had.“
Carrillo and Fluet, both in LEAD, ran together with several platform goals: to fight for student programs despite cuts, to establish a “safeboat” on the annual Houseboats trip, bring a rental car service to campus, publish professor evaluations, establish all-grade-level seminars and create a resource manual.
Though Carrillo and Fluet have not accomplished all of these goals, they have made attempts to complete them and feel that they served students the best they possibly could. The pair groups their platform goals into three basic categories: academics, student life and advocacy.
“Those three things have stayed constant throughout our whole term,” said Carrillo, a senior sociology and Chicano/a studies major.
The two said they were most proud of the resource manual for all incoming freshmen and transfer students, which is currently in production and will help students be familiar with the services available to them. Fluet said she was especially proud of last year’s first safeboat, which provided sunscreen, water, condoms and first aid for houseboat attendees.
During the year, both were surprised at how different their executive seats turned out to be compared to their senatorial terms.
Carrillo said that he did not expect to go to as many meetings as he did. As president, he serves not only the students, but also acts as a liaison between these students and the administration. That meant meetings almost weekly with the chancellor, vice chancellors, directors or chairs of various sectors of the university. He was also the only student member on the new chancellor search committee, which was an unexpected duty.
“Many times, I was the only student voice in the administration,” Carrillo said. “It’s really important that the school have someone in this position behind closed doors and point things out that are not right. It can be intimidating sometimes to disagree with the administration, but I had to do that many, many times.“
In particular, Carrillo took a strong stance against the possibility of the university introducing a US Bank to campus.
At the end of her term, Fluet discovered that her role as a vice president was not simply to accomplish her platform goals but to solve problems that the students presented to her. She said that she met with six to 10 students every week, not including ASUCD members, whom she also met with often.
“I think people in ASUCD need to move away from platform goals and instead encourage students to come to you with weekly/daily issues,” Fluet said. “They need to take those complaints and work with them. That’s what I did and I think it helped me to have a really broad impact.“
Fluet prides herself on an open-door policy, which helped her to be in constant contact with her student constituency as well as ASUCD members who sought her unbiased advice.
Carrillo and Fluet’s biggest difference appeared in this winter’s elections with the controversy over whether a revote would be appropriate or not. They said that their differences originate from their interpretations of the ASUCD constitution.
“I knew the responsibility that was entrusted with me,” Carrillo said. “There wasn’t a day in the past year when I didn’t make a decision without thinking about the best interests of students.“
Fluet carried a similar opinion, especially reflecting on the amount of time and effort she put into ASUCD since she started getting involved with LEAD her freshman year.
“You can do a good job and you can represent students if you put in the effort,” she said. “I dedicated my entire college career to this association. Working with the students here makes me so proud of this university.“
PATRICK McCARTNEY contributed to this article.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.