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September 29, 2023

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USG to focus on freshmen experience

While it can sometimes prove difficult for a new government to find a foothold, the incoming Undergraduate Student Government plans on hitting the ground running this semester.

USG is the governing body representing undergraduate students on campus, roughly equivalent to faculty senate or graduate student senate.

As a representation of undergraduate students, USG passes legislation in the form of “resolutions,” which are recommendations or declarations to the University administration. USG also often directly works with facets of the University administration.

Brian Kochheiser and Nicole Neely are the incoming president and vice president, respectively.

Kochheiser said freshmen involvement will be a focus for USG this year.

“I think we really want to encourage freshman to get involved on campus from the very beginning,” Kochheiser said. “There are so many great organizations on campus that I think any freshman can find their home or place in.”

Neely mirrored this and said providing opportunities for freshmen to find what they like is essential.

“Kind of making the connection to campus I think is huge,” Neely said. “We see that a lot the first weekend with freshman move-in and they get to kind of see everything that the campus has.”

To go along with student engagement, a more passive initiative that Neely and Kochheiser expressed interest in was the creation of a “creed,” or phrase to connect students back to campus.

“I know we use that word [connect] a lot, but I definitely think connection is the most important thing to do here,” Neely said. “[The creed] would say a couple of lines just tying everything on campus and that BG believes back into words, so everybody could look at that everyday and remind them why they’re at BG.”

Kochheiser said keeping an eye on the capital planning projects is important for USG.

“[The construction is] going to affect students for a very long time, so I think it’s important to have the student voice heard during those projects,” Kochheiser said.

Jodi Webb, dean of students and USG faculty advisor, further highlighted student engagement, and said simply getting students to think about the issue in a different way is important.

Student engagement, she said, is not an issue students might always critically think about, but one that students are concerned about.

“Sometimes students aren’t really sure about these things,” Webb said.

Overall, Webb said USG is going to aim for flexibility.

“Sometimes right now what the issues are, a month from now things could look different,” Webb said.

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