By Emma Gran
Every spring semester, University of Wisconsin–Madison students have the opportunity to elect 33 student leaders to the university’s official student governance body, the Associated Students of Madison (ASM).
These elected students are tasked with representing the needs and interests of the student body, providing several student services, and allocating approximately $50 million in segregated university fees each academic year.
Leading the council for the ASM’s 28th Session, which lasts from April 24, 2021, to April 23, 2022, is the new ASM Chair Adrian Lampron.
Lampron, a senior studying history and political science with a certificate in LGBTQ+ studies, has been leading since middle school, and is excited to take on the ASM role.
The chair serves as the official spokesperson of the ASM, acts as the presiding officer of the student council, and coordinates the expansive activities of the council, according to the ASM’s Constitution.
ASM aims to directly involve and empower all students in making their own lives better by learning how to be effective, engaged citizens who can coordinate and advocate for themselves.
From middle school activism to UW student body Chair
Lampron started thinking about activism during their middle school years, where they participated in a student leadership team focused on environmental issues and sustainability. The faculty member leading the group provided an environment where students were able to learn how to identify needed changes and work to initiate positive change.
“When I got to high school, I had already figured out I was queer and trans. And at my school, there was no place for me to go to the bathroom,” Lampron said. “At that point, I had to use my skills to address this problem I was facing, and I spent the next three years working to get gender-inclusive bathrooms.”
By the time they graduated, there was seven gender-inclusive bathrooms at the school.
Now, Lampron is using what they learned from past activism experiences in their role as chair for the student government of UW–Madison, representing over 43,000 students on campus.
“I’ve always been passionate about uplifting students’ voices and getting people involved in decision making processes where they will end up being impacted,” Lampron said.
Since Lampron’s first week on campus, they have been involved with the ASM.
“I went to the ASM kick-off event and met all these amazing student leaders,” Lampron said. “They were so inspiring, and I quickly decided I wanted to stay around these people.”
Months before, Lampron had decided to attend UW–Madison because of availability in the Open House Learning Community, an on-campus inclusive living residence where LGBTQIA+ and allied students can find and create a space of respect and authenticity for all their social identities. The beauty of the campus and the excitement of living in a political, capital city aided their decision to become a Badger as well.
Soon after the kick-off meeting, Lampron began working on the ASM’s Equity and Inclusion Committee, which coordinates campaigns and activities that promote social justice and awareness in the campus community. Lampron’s passion for civil rights, inclusivity, and equity shined and they were appointed chair of the committee the next year.
Following a fall semester working on political campaigns off campus, Lampron rejoined the ASM as a student council representative for the spring semester. According to Lampron, former Chair Matthew Mitnick kept pushing them to take on the role of chair.
“I took a long time to think about it before I committed to running for chair. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to put myself in that position,” they said. “But here I am now and I’m glad I’m doing it.”
Outside of the ASM, Lampron enjoys singing, playing music, and mountain biking. They also participate in a model United Nations student organization and run the UW–Madison American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Student Alliance.
Priorities for their term as Chair
As Lampron settles into their role as chair, finding out how to protect and expand shared governance is at the top of their priority list.
In higher education, shared governance refers to the structures and processes through which faculty, staff, and students can participate in the development of policies and in decision-making processes that affect the institution. Shared governance is a core value and foundational concept for most colleges and universities in the United States.
According to UW–Madison, “shared governance is a unique and important aspect of life” on campus. Similarly, Lampron believes shared governance is a force for positive change — essential to helping the university move forward, supporting the diverse campus community and building transparency, trust, and inclusion.
Through initiatives managed by its Campus Relations Committee and Shared Governance Committee, the ASM is committed to enhancing the communication and collaboration between university leaders and students. Lampron is excited to see how ASM and leadership can work together to create channels for the meaningful participation of students and faculty in governance of the university.
“At the end of the day, we just want students to have a voice in decisions that affect them,” said Lampron.
Beyond shared governance, Lampron is passionate about the UW Foundation divesting from fossil fuels and collaborating on the university’s new mental health crisis co-responder model, in which University Health Services (UHS) mental health clinicians will work in teams of two and accompany university police on calls regarding student mental health crises.
Further, the ASM’s Campus Relations Committee will be stepping up outreach efforts across campus to engage with more students. According to Lampron, these initiatives will be focused especially on engaging with second-year students, who missed out on a traditional first-year experience due to the pandemic.
“I know there are a lot of students that do not feel represented by ASM, so it is important for us to continue doing outreach and work with other student organizations that work with students of different identities,” Lampron said.