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ASG unveils first-ever strategic plan

At last week’s meeting of the UNC-system Association of Student Governments, Board of Governors Chairman Peter Hans came to the members with a challenge.

“You’ve got to focus, put all political stuff aside and just get to work on it,” Hans told the assembly of ASG delegates in Chapel Hill.

“If I don’t know what your agenda is other than internal debate, I can’t really help you.Then (board members) don’t listen to students as much — I’ll put it frankly.”

Hans was firm, but new ASG President Robert Nunnery said he’s making headway to prove his administration is up to the task.

During ASG’s two-day gathering, the first of the academic year, Nunnery unveiled a preliminary draft of a one-year strategic plan for ASG.

Highlighted goals include streamlining communication among delegates, increasing meeting attendance and ensuring paid officers are working a minimum number of hours each week.

Nunnery said the plan — a key part of his campaign platform — focuses on transforming talk into action.

“(Hans’ speech) was an accurate reflection of where the association is,” Nunnery said. “We have to get things done.”

ASG has been historically criticized for a lack of effectiveness and a reputation for petty politics, though nearly 60 percent of UNC-CH students voted last year to remain part of the organization.

Nunnery said his plan, slated to be done next month, will identify specific growth goals — namely how ASG can best use its budget, funded by a $1 fee from every system student.

He said he’ll seek board members’ opinions and keep them up-to-date on ASG’s agenda, which in the fall will focus on tuition discussions.

The N.C. General Assembly is expected to pass a state budget next week, which will likely include significant systemwide budget cuts and tuition hikes for out-of-state students.

UNC-CH Student Body President Christy Lambden said he is cautiously optimistic about ASG’s new vision, but that it remains to be seen whether the plan will provide the necessary fixes.

“I don’t think we’ve seen enough yet to say that has or has not happened,” he said.

Lambden said one of his ASG goals is to change representation to a proportional system. Each campus has four delegates in the organization — meaning UNC-CH has the same number as UNC School of the Arts, for example, despite an undergraduate population nearly 25 times larger.

Despite troubles, Nunnery said ASG has the potential to foster tangible change on a state and campus level.

He said he will strive to continue ASG’s advocacy even when the General Assembly is out of session, something he said has been lacking in previous administrations.

Part of his plan includes inviting elected officials to campuses in the fall to engage directly with students about higher education, he said.

“If we truly believe what’s happening in Raleigh is bad, we have to work year round.”

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