The Friday Letter Archive

A collection of the president's weekly messages to the Vandal family


Collections A-Z

Friday Letter 2014-09-04

Please note: this is an archived email message and may not display as originally intended. Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

Dear Friends,

The University of Idaho provides abundant opportunities for students to shine. Some stand out in academics, earning awards for their classwork and promoting their fields of study through clubs and honor societies. Some excel in service, participating in Alternative Service Breaks or volunteering with campus and community organizations. Others find their niches in the arts, athletics, or living-group activities. Many students lead.

A few among our student body rise to lead their peers in student government. For generations, presidents of the Associated Students of the University of Idaho (ASUI), Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) and the Student Bar Association have honed their leadership skills while encouraging and inspiring their fellow students.

Our current student leaders — Nate Fisher of ASUI, Anthony St. Clair of GPSA, and Nii-Amaa Ollennu of the Student Bar — are smart, gracious and professional young men who are eager to serve in the coming year. Today, please take the opportunity to meet Fisher in the interview below and gain insight into the mind of a student leader.

But first, I’d like to reflect on the role of ASUI President. For 110 years of the University’s 125-year history, ASUI presidents have supported student activities and represented the student voice.

From the students of 1904 who formed ASUI to help each student feel “directly concerned with all of the student enterprises,” to modern-day presidents like Samantha Perez-Parrott (2011-12) who worked to institute accountability processes for student fees, ASUI presidents have helped their peers come together as a student body to improve their lives and their university.

New leaders in our local communities, state, and nation have emerged from among this group. On the national political scene, 1974-75 ASUI President Dirk Kempthorne — an Idaho Senator and Governor, as well as U.S. Secretary of the Interior — and 1968-69 ASUI President Larry Craig — an Idaho Representative and Senator — rose to prominence. Mr. Kempthorne recently worked with UI and the state to celebrate the Snake River Basin Adjudication, a landmark water rights decision. (View this video to learn more.)

ASUI presidents of more recent years include Mahmood Sheikh (1998-99), now deputy executive director of the Idaho State Bar; Autumn Hansen (2004-05), now a social worker at Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana; and Hannah Davis (2012-13), currently serving with Teach for America as a sixth-grade social studies teacher in Texas. Samantha Parrott, mentioned earlier, works for the Humane Society of Idaho.

Other former ASUI presidents have succeeded in politics, business, academics and service. I have no doubt that Nate Fisher will someday rank among them — as will the many Vandals who take on campus leadership in its various forms.

There is only one ASUI President each year, but we see student leaders on our athletic teams, in our residence halls, in Greek life, and in our classrooms and laboratories. We know that we will see all these Vandals succeed as leaders in our state and in our society.

Chuck Staben portrait

Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
down arrow
Here's the Latest News from the University of Idaho

An Interview with a Fellow President
ASUI President Nate Fisher is a junior with a double major in political science and agricultural economics. He will serve as ASUI President for the 2014-15 school year, and he got his start in student government in junior high school. His parents, Jean Fisher and Nathan Fisher Sr., are both UI alumni, and he credits the many alumni he knows with convincing him UI was the best choice for his education.

Why did you decide to pursue student leadership?
As long as I can remember, I always liked being involved. I think that being involved creates a lot stronger ties to my peers, to faculty, staff and administration, and to the school.  The student voice is necessary – we are the primary stakeholders in the university, and we deserve to have a voice. I’ve enjoyed being able to express that.

What are your goals and priorities for your time as ASUI President?
The ASUI president is really charged with being the spokesman for the undergraduate student population. A very large portion of my job responsibility is being able to communicate effectively with other stakeholders.

One of my major priorities is getting an Idaho Student Association up and running statewide. Also, I want a “student space” on campus. When I look around campus, I really don’t see a lot of space for students to come together and just lounge and relax. And I know lots of other issues will come up – things you can’t predict, but you have to react to.

Have you been inspired by past ASUI Presidents?
Everyone has great advice. There’s a steep learning curve, so being able to talk to past presidents was beneficial. They all had advice about who to meet, places to be and how to prioritize things you’re working on throughout the year. ASUI presidents are a cool class of people, and they all did important things while they were here.

How does your role as ASUI President prepare you for the future?
I’ve heard a lot about former ASUI presidents being very successful, particularly in the state of Idaho and Idaho politics. I think that’s the trajectory I’d like to take. I’ve always envisioned a career in public policy, and I think this positon is equipping me well for that goal.

I think being an effective communicator is one of my strongest leadership skills, but I’ve already learned a great deal more in my first couple months. I’m a firm believer that politics is all about relationships, so it’s important to maintain those relationships and also be effective in establishing your priorities and be able to get things done.
American Legacy Foundation Establishes Scholarship in Honor of Attorney General Wasden  
A $350,000 endowed scholarship fund was created to honor Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden ’85 and his service to the American Legacy Foundation (ALF) as a member, past chair and treasurer of the Foundation’s board of directors. 
Learn More »

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences