USG prepares for year

Keefe Watson and Keefe Watson

The Undergraduate Student Government had its first meeting on Monday, Aug. 22, kicking off the new term, and setting the tone for the coming school year.

Van Wright, Assistant to the Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Planning, spoke first in an open forum. Wright highlighted the many successes of the University, including the increase in first year enrollment and the high volume of applications already received for the fall of 2017.

Wright also spoke about how the University can do better, such as admitting more transfer students and continuing to increase the diversity of the University. Diversity, Wright said, “makes us a better university.” He encouraged USG members to “Look at ways we can connect with our student body and help our administration make it better.”

USG president Amanda Dortch introduced herself and told the senators their basic purpose: to serve all undergraduates and their specific constituencies. Dortch spoke about recent summer changes, including the hiring of Thomas Gibson, the new Vice President of Student Affairs, the placement of the new career center located in the Bowen Thompson Student Union, the new Union parking lot and a new shuttle route that runs exclusively between Offenhauer, Centennial and the student union.

Dortch’s takeaway message to the USG body was, “Let me know what you need from me…I’m here…that is my job.” She encouraged questions and said that she is in her position to help the members of USG serve students.

Vice President Richard Racette gave updates of a few upcoming events, including an ice cream social that will be held this Saturday, Aug. 27 from 1-3 on the Harshman courts. The event is meant as an opportunity for campus organizations to meet USG members. All campus organizations are welcome to attend. Racette also informed the body of a voter registration event that will take place on Sept. 27, with more information to come.

Racette encouraged USG members to “Help us help each other.” Racette emphasized that members of USG must to their best to self-start initiatives by going out to students and asking questions.

New business at Monday’s meeting included the presentation of a resolution that,

if passed, would create a new senate seat for representation of international students. This proposed resolution is in response to the increasing percentage of international students enrolling at the University. This seat would be appointed by the international student services office for this academic year, and would be elected by international students in the future. This resolution is planned to be discussed more in next week’s meeting.

USG advisor Jodi Webb introduced herself to the new members of USG and welcomed back the returning members. Webb asked the USG body to let her know whenever she could be a

resource, and ensured members that any confusion amongst new members and about changes in the USG bylaws will soon resolved.

USG Speaker Nadia Oehler emphasized the attendance policy for senators, and the need for the standing policy to be consistently enforced. The policy allows for two excused absences and one unexcused absences for each senator.

Nine new officers were sworn in on Monday, but open seats still remain. Many of the empty seats will be filled by Hall Council representatives.