SGA officers set agenda for fall
The Student Government Association’s executive officers say they plan to make students’ time at UH safer, more pleasant and less expensive over the coming semester.
"In the next few months we hope to say to our fellow students that we have made school more affordable by stabilizing tuition rates and increasing financial aid dollars that are available†for students," SGA Vice President Sam Dike said.†"We also hope to have made textbooks more affordable†by continuing our information campaign†to eliminate the practices that contribute to the increased costs of textbooks."
SGA aims to lower the prices of textbooks to prevent professors taking advantage of their students, SGA President David Rosen said.
"Professors shouldn’t turn to their classrooms for personal income," he said.
In regards to the UH food services, SGA plans to communicate student concerns to Aramark, UH’s food provider.
"We also plan to work with food services to devise new ideas to enhance and diversify the dining options on campus," Dike said.
SGA will address improving dining hours, displaying nutritional labels on all food products and expanding dining options to include box lunches and halal and kosher food items, he said.
"I think the dining experience at UH can be improved," biology freshman Seemab Jamil said. "More space is needed for lines and seating. Overall, there are many options and location as far as dining."
Biology freshman Diana Rico also sees room for improvement.
"I love the different varieties of food, " she said. "I just wish that the service was a little better."
SGA also plans to work with the UH Police Department and University administration to create a safer campus environment and to support the new and existing safety programs such as Walk in the Dark, a night when administrators and UHPD officers walk around campus with students to locate any potentially hazardous areas.
In addition to all its initiatives, SGA hopes to give back to the community through charity benefits and mentorships, Dike said. SGA also plans on developing a scholarship to recognize outstanding students who display leadership abilities as well as a commitment to academics and giving back to the campus and community.
"In November we hope to partner with the Metropolitan Volunteer Program to encourage a campus-wide community service project that is yet to be determined," Dike said. "We will also be an active participant as well as a sponsor of Dance Marathon at UH, UH’s newest tradition which†aims to raise†money for the Children’s Miracle Network and Texas Children’s Hospital to provide specialized health care for children."
Over the summer
The SGA helped in creating the Cougar Spirit and Tradition Council to boost school spirit with 14 other UH student organizations.
"Our game plan is to, No. 1, work together to increase attendance at sporting events," Dike said. "We also†hope to develop new traditions such as lighting the towers when UH wins a game as well as revitalize some old traditions such as having a live cougar mascot, but not on campus. The ultimate goal is to work in unison to promote the spirit we call ‘pride of a Cougar’ and to help students find out what it means to be a Cougar."
To prepare for the fall semester, SGA maintained a presence at the freshmen and transfer orientations.
"Our purpose was to inform these students about who we are, our role on campus and how we can be of service to them.†Many senators played a part in making these interactions a success," Dike said.†"The freshmen and transfer students that we interacted with were very interested in SGA’s role on campus and were looking to get involved."
SGA passed legislation to ban smoking in portions of the University Center and is waiting for approval from the University Coordinating Commission so that the UC Arbor can be a designated non-smoking area.
The bill will be reviewed by the University Coordinating Commission soon, Dike said, and if approved it will go on to UH Interim President John Rudley.
If approved, SGA plans to work with administration to enforce the ban, Dike said.
Also, the results of a test for possible mold formation in the UC Underground caused by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 came back negative, Dike said.
Other summer plans included ensuring that parking Lot 4A across from Bayou Oaks will be partially paved this December after many students complained about driving on gravel and safety issues such as lighting.
SGA also worked with the Students for Fair Trade organization to implement 100 percent Fair Trade coffee at Shasta’s Cones ‘ More in the UC.