Leading the way
Whether talking about budgeting, organizing an activity around campus or trying to settle student fees, UVUSA members keep busy all year long.
According to Sarah Standing, vice-president of student life, there are about 30 council members who sit in council meetings each week with different entities who want to present or make a change to a policy on campus.
UVUSA representatives are chosen by students; therefore, they work for the students, according to Richard Portwood, Student Body President.
One item regularly under discussion by the student government is student fees. Every January and February, all organizations that work with student fees have to report their expenses and get a new budget for the next year.
As a council, the student body representatives vote whether these organizations need more money or not, and it depends on their vote whether the fee is raised. They will then take this decision to the President’s Council, which then gets turned over to the Board of Trustees and finally to the Board of Regents to make the final decision.
“There’s a lot of checks and balances with what we do. We don’t have power over everything, but we do have a lot of trust from the administration,” Portwood said.
According to Portwood, the student body government has adequate power, and so do the students on campus.
“I think it’s a perfect mix that we are empowered to make the changes that are necessary,” Portwood said. “I was elected by the students, so the students have the power, and this is something I love about this university.”
Another topic of discussion amongst council members is student life. According to Standing, student life encompasses all the activities and events on campus.
“We try to hit a very wide range of students. We do a lot of activities with kids involved, a broad variety of activities to reach out to as many students as we can,” Standing said.
Something they have done this year to become more involved with students, according to Portwood, is to be out in the hallways so students can get to know them.
“I feel strongly about this because I didn’t know anyone and it was student government that got me involved,” Portwood said. “We try to wear our name tags so students know who we are and [to] be able to help them.”
Portwood encourages students who have an idea or a problem to present it to the student government. He also reminds students that by doing so, they have the power to make those changes happen.
“Don’t be afraid to talk to us. We would love it if you came and just talked to us,” Portwood said.