USG West appoints new president after resignation

After acting as former Vice President of Policy for Undergraduate Student Government West, new USG West President Rachael Tashbook said she is ready to advocate for students on the West campus.

"I hope that that experience as an advocate will help me better represent the students now that I have a greater voice and (will) be able to reach more people," she said.

Tashbook was appointed as new president on Nov. 13 after the former elected official, Stephanie Bockrath, resigned. Tashbook, who was appointed to the position due to requirements outlined in the bylaws, said she was taken aback when Bockrath announced her resignation.

"Everyone thought she was doing a great job as president, and it was a little unexpected that she was leaving," she said. "We definitely wanted to wish her the best and we hope that she has a great rest of the year and we appreciate everything she's done for us so far."

As she is coming into a brand new position, Tashbook said she is interested in working with the Arizona Board of Regents and University officials to advocate for financial support from the state and keep student costs as low as possible.

Tashbook said one of the main issues on the West campus is the lack of student engagement, a statement echoed by Bockrath, who said she is looking forward to seeing Tashbook continue the growth of student interaction.

"In student government as a whole, the No. 1 emphasis is student engagement and student voice," she said. "Whenever we're hosting any event or we're doing any form of advocacy, our No. 1 focus is promoting the students."

Tashbook said one of her top priorities throughout the rest of the year will be to make sure student input is heard in order to host creative and engaging events and involve students in the community.

"It's just like President Crow always says, it's four campuses, one University," she said. "We need to make sure that everyone is able to get that great ASU experience."

As for filling the empty Vice President of Policy position, Tashbook said they are currently taking applications and hope to appoint someone by Dec. 4.

"Preferably, it'd be nice if we had someone with leadership experience, someone who has a passion for leadership and policy in higher education and somebody who doesn't mind putting in the number of hours and the work needed to be able to successfully represent the students," she said.

Tempe USG President Isaac Miller said he believes Tashbook is more than qualified to handle the presidential position and is looking forward to working with her throughout the rest of the year.

"I've really enjoyed working with Stephanie, and I know that she is healthily competitive, hard-working, and dependable," he said in an email. "She's been very easy to work with, so I think she will be a tough act to follow. Because of her strengths that I have seen and what I have seen so far of Rachael ... I trust that Rachael will be well-equipped to do a great job as president of (USG West)."

Bockrath, who said she resigned due to time constraints related to personal family issues, said one of the most fulfilling aspects to holding a presidential position was helping the student body.

"I think that's just talking to students and being able to listen to their concerns and be like, 'Oh, I can actually help you with that,'" she said. "Being in student government at all, no matter what position you hold, you have that power already, but it was just so fun to be able to really help students."

Although she said she is unsure of whether or not she will return to an executive position next fall, Bockrath said she knows Tashbook will do a great job as president for the remainder of the year.

"It's a difficult thing to do, it takes up a lot, almost all of your time," she said. "Personally, I'd just say (to Tashbook) manage your time well. She'll do great things."


Reach the reporter at Jlsuerth@asu.edu or follow @SuerthJessica on Twitter.

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