Many believe that student government is ineffective and pointless. “What do they even do?” asked one student.
To some, student government is invisible and unhelpful, as expressed by another student, who said, “I don’t know anything about them.”
University College Senator McKay Ballstaedt has news for them.
“What students don’t know is that if they have a problem with, say, a professor, they can come to the senators,” Ballstaedt said. “We have a personal relationship with the deans, and we can help.”
Ballstaedt develops this relationship with the dean of University College through semi-monthly meetings and by sitting on committees together. There are seven students on the senate, one for every college, and each develops a good working association with their respective deans.
The senators in turn work with UVUSA Vice President of Academics, Chris Loumeau. This provides a linking chain that can bring student issues to the administration’s ears. For Ballstaedt, that includes University College, meaning anyone who does not yet have a major.
“My responsibilities are to be a student representative for anyone under University College,” he said, adding that University College is the largest of the colleges.
The school’s website says that the University College Senator “Coordinates issues and programs between students, the faculty and dean of the University College. Serves on various committees throughout campus to improve the internships and services offered to students.”
Ballstaedt represents students in the ESL, Developmental Math and Student Success programs. Each senator has similar ties to particular offices and groups, hoping to be receptive to every student’s needs.
One issue Ballstaedt has taken part in working on is the waitlist problem, or better said, the problem that develops when the waitlist dissolves.
The waitlist is a universal solution, but when it dissolves, each department resorts to its own method to add or drop students from classes. Ballstaedt is part of a committee that is searching for a universal, streamlined system that will provide consistency for the students and professors alike.
Ballstaedt came to the conclusion that the waitlist was a problem simply by listening to the complaints of students around him.
Senators also take surveys, receive suggestions from the deans and sit in on meetings where administrators discuss school issues.