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USG looks to solve communication problems with caucuses

Communication between different senators in student government can sometimes be difficult, but the Internal Affairs Chair Eric Juzkiw has come up with a brand-new way to help solve that problem this year.

The solution involved putting senators in groups called caucuses, which is done for two reasons, said Katie Post, speaker of the Undergraduate Student Government.

“One is to get the senators to collaborate within their constituency,” Post said, “And two, we’re collecting minds that are working towards the same aim … the idea of the caucus system is to synthesis our efforts within constituencies.”

There are already committees set in place for senators to join like student affairs or academic affairs, but there are a lot of different constituencies represented within the committees. Constituencies are the people who the senators represent and serve.

“We have never had a system set in place that allows senators from the same type of constituency to work together on projects,” Juskiw said. “We wanted to make something where this could help aid in senator collaboration on projects. So for example, the academic college senators can work on an issue that applies to all the different colleges and this gives them an easy way to all touch base.”

There are six different caucuses and they are off campus, at-large, diversity affairs, greek, residence hall and academic, Juskiw said.

In order to promote a want to participate within the caucuses, USG has provided leadership positions, Juskiw said.

“This is done by appointing caucus chairs,” he said. “This is for other people who don’t have formal positions within USG that work much like committee chairs where they make sure caucuses are meeting, they make sure everybody’s doing what they are supposed to do and they really determine what the caucus can do.”

Now not only does USG have the speaker and four committee chairs, but they also have caucus chairs who are directing efforts within the senate, so it will give senator a chance to expand their ideas and projects, Post said.

Another way senators are being encouraged to work with the groups are through collaborative events, and every senator is required to do one per month, Juzkiw said.

“If a senator attends two caucus meetings per month, which they are being asked to meet twice per month, if that senator is able to make both then that counts as their collaborative event for the month,” Juzkiw said.

These caucuses are not yet a formal part of our bylaws, Post said.

“So technically we can’t require anyone to do these,” she said, “but as an incentive to get people involved in these caucuses that’s what we have done. A caucus meeting is really a form of a collaborative event.”

President of USG Alex Solis is a big proponent for the caucus system.

“Having senators meet really shows them they all have issues relative to their constituents,” he said. “It allows them to talk about issues outside of the weekly meetings.”

Solis isn’t apart of a caucus this year, but he wishes there were these groups when he was a resident senator of Kriesher Ashley Batchelder.

“We used to talk informally in the office,” Solis said. “Now this is the first year senators are more organized and can really plan for their constituents. I think they will go very well.”

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