West campus students, meet your 2016-17 executives

Despite appearances, the ASU Undergraduate Student Government West's new student body executives did not initially grow close over a shared love of governance — rather, they grew close over a mobile app: Alpaca World. 

In fact, USGW President-elect Sydney Wallace said she and the other two members of her ticket, Vice President of Policy-elect Cameron Hlatky-Hall and Vice President of Services-elect Natasha Snider, still have the app downloaded.

For the three to have ended up in the quiet depths of USGW offices playing a video game together, they all had to have ended up on the West campus, and then in student government. 

Meet Sydney Wallace

Wallace came to ASU from Andrews, Texas, — a city of around 13,000 people — to begin a major in biomedical engineering on ASU's Tempe campus, which was more than double her hometown's size. 

"I thought it was too big," she said. 

So, recognizing that her interests had changed and that she yearned for a smaller community, Wallace changed her major and her scenery. 

As a sophomore, she now studies healthcare innovation on ASU's West campus, and plans to get her master's and doctoral degrees from ASU in biomedical informatics. 

"West really has a community feel, and everyone knows everyone," she said. 

Wallace said her study has helped her innovate and think outside the box, which she thinks are important skills for working in USG.

However, Wallace's entrance into student government could hardly have been more direct.

"My roommate is the current president of USG West," she said. "She asked me to join in October, and I got into it really quickly." 

She said the same altruistic impulse that drove her to the medical field has kept her passionate about student government. 

Meet Cameron Hlatky-Hall

The path to a USG executive position was significantly less direct for Vice President of Policy-elect Cameron Hlatky-Hall.

Hlatky-Hall, a history sophomore, said he was originally from Arizona, but moved to England when his father got a job teaching on a military base.

He said his international experience has worked hand-in-hand with his field of study to help him further understand cultural diversity and political history.

He said his decision to come to the West campus was primarily for convenience.

"West was the closest, transportation-wise," Hlatky-Hall said. "I like it because it's small, and you're not just a number in the class."

He saw USGW tabling on the first day of classes and decided to join, first as a New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences college senator.

"I wanted to give back to the college as much as I was taking from it," he said. 

Meet Natasha Snider

Vice President of Services-elect Natasha Snider took a similarly roundabout path to ASU. 

Snider, a forensic science freshman, is also an Arizona native, but graduated from an international high school in Europe. She said her experience abroad has helped her work with a variety of different students with different needs during her time in USG. 

She said she came to ASU for largely practical reasons: She could get in-state tuition, and she received a scholarship from the University. 

However, unlike the test of her ticket, her decision to come to West was out of necessity: Forensic science wasn't offered on any other campus.  

Yet, despite the lack of choice, she wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

"I've been to every campus, but I like the homey feel that is West best," she said. 

Snider said she has always liked to help people, which drove her decision to enter forensic science. She admitted that an aversion to needles repelled from more traditional medical study.

Unlike Wallace, Snider fell into USG somewhat by happenstance. 

"I moved in really early," Snider said. "There were two weeks where I was almost the only soul on campus. I saw a bulletin board advertising positions within USG, figured, 'What the hey,' and applied." 

Meet the USGW ticket elect

However, the recently-elected Wallace ticket now finds itself in a position where it needs to look toward the future more than the past. 

"We all decided we needed to start now," Wallace said. "Natasha is working with the community garden already."

Wallace said all three executives agreed that they will need to address one issue above all others.

"Our main focus right now is to fix a lot of the communications problems on West campus," Wallace said. "PAB, USG and RHA have had a problem communicating and tend to schedule multiple events at once."

On such a small campus, she said scheduling multiple events at once can leave them all unattended. This issue is a driving force behind the creation of a unified event calendar across campus, a significant part of the Wallace ticket's platform.

Long term, Wallace said she and her vice presidents are optimistic about the West campus' future.

"I see West growing and expanding," Wallace said. "The people here are really invested. I feel it'll be a really big, sustainable campus full of innovation."

Hlatky-Hall and Snider echoed her assertion, and all three agreed that no matter how big it became, the West campus would never lose its community feel. 

However, Snider said the ticket hopes the students they represent will reach out to them in the same way.

"I would mostly ask that they are willing to work with us," she said. "That way, we can actually represent them."

Reach the reporter at Arren.Kimbel-Sannit@asu.edu or follow @akimbelsannit on Twitter.

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