Associated Student Federation Forum President Travis Berry announced his resignation mid-way into the academic year.
Health-related issues have been the leading factors in his decision to resign.
Berry needed to eliminate the amount of stress in his life and ASF appeared to be its driving force, consuming 30 hours a week of his time.
“I decided that it would be best to take a step down from ASF,” Berry said.
He realized that he would soon be totally burned out and would not be performing at a level that satisfies him.
“It’s a decision that I didn’t want to make but had to,” Berry said.
Dana McJunkin, the current ASF vice president, will take Berry’s place as ASF president.
Dec. 20 marks the last day for Berry’s presidency and the start for McJunkin’s.
Her first reaction to Berry’s resignation was shock.
“I didn’t think he would drop that position,” McJunkin said.
When McJunkin came to the University of La Verne she had no intention of getting involved in the student government because it seemed too political for her.
She envisioned it to be as political as the television series “Beverly Hills 90210.” But after talking to Brian Armstrong, ASF adviser then, she decided to give ASF a try.
McJunkin, a junior, admitted that she is still growing, and even though she has never been president, she has been involved in student government since third grade.
One of the biggest challenges as the new president will be to trust other people, to do the work and to set herself apart from the activities.
“I’m a much more behind the scenes person,” McJunkin said.
McJunkin admitted that she likes to be in the background but could step up to the front if she had to.
Having different goals from Berry, McJunkin plans to shift things around. Her primary goal is to bring more enthusiasm into the group.
“Travis and I are different people,” McJunkin said.
McJunkin describes herself as mixing fun into everything she does instead of keeping everything strictly down to business.
McJunkin also plans to increase respect and involvement of students in ASF.
“We have a level of respect but I want respect across the board,” McJunkin said.
McJunkin wants ASF to be known for more than their events.
Strengthening communication and publicity, which can always be improved is on McJunkin’s agenda as well.
“If it were perfectly publicized every single person would be there,” McJunkin said referring to the attendance of ASF meetings. “I’d like to work on my ability to manage people.”
ASF is a large group and McJunkin wants it to become more efficient in multitasking and for it to communicate well. She also wants the group to become cohesive and to measure what ASF has done.
The relocation of ASF to the campus bookstore will be an interesting turn for ASF as well. The change will, in some form, cap the capabilities of ASF.
“I think it’s harder for us and for the students. The University is not helping,” Berry said.
This change comes as a result of plans to remodel the Student Center, which are expected to begin in March.
“They are putting us into a blender and spitting us all over the space,” Berry said.
Even though this new change will have no affect on the admissions rate, it might have an impact of the retention rate because ASF offices will be scattered all around campus into vacant spots.
Despite difficulties, this is a good time for change because it will give ASF the spring semester to organize and run through everything.
This allows ASF to have a strong start in fall for the 2005-2006 academic year.
Changes that ASF now faces did not have an impact on Berry’s resignation.
At the beginning of the year, Berry had no intentions of leaving ASF. The decision for Berry to resign did not come until the first or second week of November.
October was an extremely difficult month for Berry. He was in two car accidents, which left his car totaled.
His constant cycle of being in and out of illnesses, the increasing amount of class work and the management of ASF made Berry ask himself if it was worth doing so much work and still not being the best he could be.
“I didn’t think that I could be as good of a president as I wanted to be after having a month of crap happen,” Berry said. “It would take a toll on anybody.”
In October, Berry had several students complain that he was never around.
He knew something major was going wrong because he went from always being in his office to never being there.
“I think he could have done better. He was never around,” said Britney Conner, junior psychology major.
Even though Berry resigned from presidency, he will still be there if the group needs advice or help with an issue.
“If they need some help of course, I’ll be there,” Berry said.
Berry said that he is proud of his three-and-a-half years as president and has had a remarkable adventure.
“I will never regret this decision,” Berry said. “The three-and-a-half years were wonderful.”
Berry plans to indulge in his free time and to focus on his harder classes next semester.
“Dana comes with a great deal of experience from ASF,” Berry said. “She’s a highly capable and efficient leader.”
The majority of the board is returning to their positions in which they have an abundant amount of experience.
“We really handled this well,” Berry said.
ASF is planning to take another stab at restructuring.
Although previous attempts have failed, the forum claims to have sorted out all the flaws.
ASF has plans to scrap senators and have class representatives instead.
The class representatives will seek ways to serve and benefit their class in areas that pertain to that year.
The Forum also proposed a new strategy that would address needs in a specific and accurate manner.
Through this, the class representatives will not be working on committees Campus Activity Board will be in charge of all activities other than Homecoming, Winter Formal and Mr. ULV.
In the past, 80 percent of the work that went into the events was completed during the summer by the five executives. With this change, executives will be holding meetings with officials to negotiate outcome that would impact the student experience on campus.
Wendy Schwartz is heading the new Campus Activities Board, which will be in charge of programming events other than the three main ones that ASF will continue to do as a whole.
CAB has about 40 events planned out for the spring semester.
Since the official formation of ASF in 1987, the forum has been a programming organization not an advocacy board.
“We’ve really done our homework this time,” Berry said.
Students have faith in the new president.
“I know she’ll do a better job. She’s all about school spirit. That girl loves this school so much,” Conner said.
Despite the support and confidence from ULV students, McJunkin still has some fears of stepping into the shoes of president.
“I’m nervous because I hold myself accountable more so than anyone else. I don’t want to let anyone down,” she said.
Yelena Ovcharenko can be reached at email@example.com.