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Discovering the power of student government: ‘What can ASBSU do for you?’

Have you ever learned a fun fact and immediately found yourself sharing it with others? This is the same kind of excitement that junior Makena Chase exudes when talking about the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU).

Chase anticipates graduating in December 2025 with her bachelor’s in nursing. She is a College of Health Sciences ASBSU senator alongside social work major Typhene Bulape Mishambo.

Two women hold pom-poms and hold a flier for donating to the Unbridled Campaign.
Chase (left) is excited to work with partners across the College of Health Sciences to connect with more students.

Representing two different areas of the college “helps us reach out to more students,” Chase said, which is important as they strive to be a voice for student opinion.

First stepping into the position in August 2023, Chase said she “loved it so much” that she ran for re-election. She and Bulape Mishambo both won their seats again and are already planning for the fall.

“One of the goals that I’m going into next semester with is helping to make students aware of the resources that they have, but also asking them ‘Are these resources benefiting you?’” Chase said.

Chase doesn’t want decision-makers – including ASBSU – to assume they know what’s in students’ best interest without hearing from the students directly.

“We think that we have all these great things for students and we’re doing so well. But if we don’t ask them, we won’t know what they think they need or what they want us to direct our attention towards, right?” she said. “It just goes back to actually being able to have students have a voice in things that their money is going toward…I think it’s super important.”

Starting with awareness

Many students are not aware that part of their regular student fees fund student government. So any fee-paying student is eligible to vote in elections. But only 12.3% of eligible voters from the student body participated this spring.

Headshot of Makena Chase
Chase will start her second term with ASBSU in August 2024.

A lack of awareness – about what ASBSU is and why it matters – may be the reason for low involvement. Chase wants to boost awareness through transparency and communication. These may seem like generalized goals, but she has specific ways to achieve them.

While increasing visible messages across campus (whether through posters or electronic billboard-style ads) are broad approaches, “I also think it starts small,” Chase said.

She knows the significance of word-of-mouth communication and values one-on-one conversations.

“Even just having smaller communications with individual students or smaller groups of people has been really effective, and just letting people know that these resources are there for them,” Chase said.

What can ASBSU do for you?

So what resources does ASBSU have?

Their funding board can allocate money toward student organizations that submit requests. Thanks to her involvement with ASBSU, Chase also learned that students have access to free legal advice and an emergency fund for individuals.

Six individuals pose together in their Special Olympics t-shirts.
Chase (bottom left) won the 2024 Presidential Innovation Award for her work founding and leading the university’s Special Olympics Club.

“Say you have a medical condition that arises and you miss school or you miss work, but you need to pay for tuition or you need to pay for rent, you can apply for the student emergency fund,” Chase explained.

ASBSU can also help students launch initiatives that they’re passionate about. “For example, we passed a bill that helped the [Boise State University’s] Children’s Center host parenting workshops for college students who are also parents,” Chase recalled.

Her goal is to better connect students with ASBSU and their resources so they can make the most of what’s available to them.

“If you do have initiatives that you’re pursuing, or you have an opinion about a specific thing on campus or in your program or with your student population, please, please feel free to reach out to me,” she said.

Part of community awareness is having a specific person students feel they can contact, and Chase wants to be that person. Email her at

Balancing classes, clubs and committees

In Chase’s experience, student government can get lost in the chaos of all the clubs, classes and community in students’ lives.

“If you’re in the nursing program, it’s really hard to be active in other things,” she said. “We have so much going on in the program alone.”

But aside from ASBSU, Chase is also a member of the Student Nurses Association; she competes with the Business Professionals of America in the health administration category; and as the founder and president of the Special Olympics Club, she recently won the 2024 Presidential Innovation Award.

How does she do it all?

“I won’t lie, it’s definitely hard,” Chase said. “But I think one of the biggest things was learning how to say no.”

Chase wants to give 100% of her time and energy to her commitments. So even though she has many varied interests, she’s learned to focus on the areas that mean the most to her.

“At the end of the day, committing to things that you really love doing makes it a lot easier because it doesn’t feel necessarily like a commitment or a burden,” she said. “You’re excited to work on it.”

Get involved with ASBSU