Paola and Young reflect on term, offering advice for successor


Jason May

Vice President of ASOSU Sierra Young (left) and President of ASOSU Matteo Paola outside Austin Hall during their campaign on Feb. 24, 2022. “I plan to do as much as I can in the time that I have left, more can always be done, but I am happy we’ve been able to continue pushing for important change for students so far,” Paola said.

Jace Jett, News Contributor

As winter term comes to a close, the former president and vice president of Oregon State University’s Associated Students of OSU reflects on their experiences and offers advice for their successors. 

ASOSU President Matteo Paola and Vice President Sierra Young reflect on their term as the university’s student-run government association president and vice president.

“I’m really proud of how strong our (executive) team has been this year and am glad we were able to contribute to past years successes by seeing through wage increases for every fee funded unit,” Paola said.  

Paola mentions being proud of being able to push the reforms for the Survivor Advocacy and Resource Center, now Center for Advocacy Prevention and Education during his time as an ASOSU representative and working with others from last year’s executive administration.

SARC and the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Team have joined together to form the CAPE. CAPE will operate through a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach to provide a continuum of programs and services designed to prevent interpersonal and gender-based violence and to support survivors. 

“This job is so insanely varied, it’s kind of hard to pick a single aspect. But the ability to hire and manage a staff of over 14 incredibly dedicated students has definitely been a challenge but one of the aspects I’m most grateful I had the opportunity to experience,” Paola said.

A favorite project during his term was the World Heart Rhythms event which was primarily planned by their international and cultural coordinator Jojo Namuddu and public resource director Angelina Westcott.

WRH was a gathering of people from all different cultural backgrounds with performances run by different individuals and organizations on campus, and in Paola’s opinion, one of the most successful ASOSU has hosted in years. Paola is hoping ASOSU can build this event into a yearly ASOSU tradition.

Paola hopes the next ASOSU president is as committed as him to student workers and student basic needs as the past ASOSU administrators have been. He also hopes to see a continued push for higher student worker wages and increased worker benefits. 

According to Paola, he wishes he had the capacity this year to unionize student workers — just like University of Oregon’s student government has been doing — but hopes to see ASOSU work towards that in the future. UO’s student government is working to support a unionization movement on their campus.

For the next president, Paola advises to lean on other leaders for support and collaborate with other student body presidents. 

According to Paola, the position can be incredibly rewarding but can also be very isolating due to having back-to-back meetings from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

On top of managing a full course load, Paola said the position can be very daunting. But there are very few other positions on campus that come with the privileges and challenges associated with the work. So for Paola, it has been really helpful to build relationships with presidents at other Oregon universities and PAC-12 schools.

“I chose to run because during my time earlier in the house of representatives I learned student government can actually achieve real tangible change, and I wanted to spend my time at OSU helping improve the lives of students,” Paola said. 

Young advises the next ASOSU vice president to make sure they know how to delegate and not to overwhelm themselves. She initially ran for vice president so she could better represent groups that she’s a part of like performing arts and the LGBTQ+ community.

As ASOSU president, there are many times when you will be the sole student voice in the room for important university decisions and committees, so you must view your job primarily as a way to elevate the concerns of other students.

As someone who comes from a more privileged background, Paola realizes his experience is far different than many. The concerns of students who are struggling more than him are incredibly relevant and need representation in those rooms and meetings where they rarely have a voice.

“I am happy we were able to raise student wages, max working hours, and a few other things. I plan to do as much as I can in the time that I have left, more can always be done, but I am happy we’ve been able to continue pushing for important change for students so far,” Paola said.

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