Members of the UVUSA met early Tuesday morning in the UVUSA Council Chamber to introduce several new department representatives into the Student Senate.
Ethan Morse, who is the vice president of the senate, started the meeting off by greeting the new representatives and saying what it meant to him to be in UVUSA.
“We get to help with the policy the school makes,” said Morse. “We are here to advocate for the students.”
The department representatives are students who have volunteered to represent a particular department, and major in the academic senate of the UVUSA. These students help the Student Senate be aware of what students are feeling in certain majors and departments.
The Student Senate is meant to provide students a direct route for communication to address grievances and to have a voice in the way their school is governed. Department reps are required to have office hours from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on every weekday.
“I wanted to become a change in the school,” said Emily Taylor, behavioral sciences representative. Taylor is just starting her first term in the Student Senate as a department representative.
Taylor said that she was working on a survey for students that would address issues pertaining to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to make sure students are comfortable coming to campus,” Taylor said. “I want to know if students think we need more rules or [if] they feel fine.”
Surveys sent to student emails are often the biggest way that UVUSA communicates with the student body. Responding to these surveys can often make a big difference in what is being legislated.
“I want people to know we are listening to them, and that someone is here to help,” Taylor said after being asked what she wanted people to know about UVUSA. One problem that UVUSA faces is lack of student participation within their votes and changes.
One such example is the turnout of the 2020 special election on UVUSA constitution changes, which had a turnout of only 1.5% of eligible students.
Mickelle Newkirk, assistant to the vice president of academics, said “all the work we do is to create a good experience” for students.
The next UVUSA meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. in room 114 of the Student Life Center.