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Friday, November 27, 2020

Student Government

SGA president, VP share on exciting endeavors


SGA is not all fun and games for Cedric Bandoh and Rani Ramchandani, who have plans to tackle difficult situations at UH.  File Photo/The Daily Cougar

SGA is not all fun and games for Cedric Bandoh and Rani Ramchandani, who have plans to tackle difficult topics at UH.
Courtesy of Rani Ramchandani

Time has come to dust off the books and get back to class, and the Bandoh-Ramchandani administration is ready to make sure you see some improvements this semester.

Student Government Association President Cedric Bandoh and Vice President Rani Ramchandani, both supply chain seniors, have spent the summer getting the ball rolling on several projects and working to carry out their campaign promises.

The Daily Cougar sat down with the power duo that’s leading the 50th administration to talk about this coming year.

The Daily Cougar: Has SGA done anything major this summer?

Cedric Bandoh: One thing that impacts students here and now is the extension of the library hours. The students have been calling for a 24-hour library and so (Dana Rooks) and I had a meeting … It became a matter of safety and security and the cost. So, she said let’s do it (in) increments; let’s extend it one more hour this fall, we’ll monitor it, and then based off of that, we’ll re-evaluate extending them further.

Rani Ramchandani: Aside from extending library hours, we have also worked to improve academic advising. Working closely with our new provost, we are helping guide the university in prioritizing its budget for advising, extended library hours, and graduate student stipends — ultimately impacting our graduation rates. That to me is quite an accomplishment for our summer.

TDC: What are some other things that SGA has done this summer?

Cedric: We established the university Shared Governance Council, which is the leadership of all the three governing bodies – SGA, Faculty Senate (and) Staff Council…We have open discussions about ways we can help each other, things that are going on, and we meet on a monthly basis.  It’s a great flow of things and if students, faculty and staff are saying that they want something, it’s more likely to happen.

TDC: Are there any new updates on the app, Redline, that will be released the beginning of the fall semester?

Cedric: The saga of the app. This will be the official university app, not just SGA. Students, faculty, staff and alumni will be able to download it. We’re currently in testing mode. The different parts are a calendar, a parking function, a map function and alerts and notifications, and you can arrange that so whatever you care about the most can be at the top.

Rani: It’s a beautiful interface that will be extremely user-friendly and very easy to navigate. Right now we are making sure the push alerts, search map, campus bus routes and calendar updates are up to speed and working seamlessly.

TDC: What about the much-anticipated MindMixer program, Improve UH?

Rani: We are ready to launch the virtual town hall system the first day of school. Now it’s for us — the students — to really engage with it and work to better improve the campus. The days of the antiquated town hall where you would meet to voice your opinions and solutions is a distant memory. With the fast paced growth of our university and its technological advances, it will be a mature and timely switch to use a system that will broaden the scope of engagement. Improve UH will allow our students to share ideas, make better decisions and share solutions with decision makers in a very data-driven format. There is no better time than now and I am extremely excited for the launch of Improve UH.

TDC: What’s the next step for ensuring safety on campus?

Cedric: (Special Adviser to the President for Safety and Security) Kyle Spears is working with the UH Police Department in terms of the Cougar Patrol and the feasibility of that. The discussion that’s come up over the summertime is the situations that we’re willing to put students in and making sure that’s safe…Another thing that’s come up during the summertime is looking at having officers on bikes. That’s something that used to be a huge thing here at UH, and that’s something that’s really big on all college campuses.

TDC: What do you want to do differently this year?

Cedric: I want to engage more students and student leaders in the decision making process. That’s something I look back on this past administration and think I wanted to do more of that.

Rani: As vice president, I am determined to increase the number and quality of students in our university committees, and that is why we are launching the Empowering Students Campaign…What I tell students is if there is something you wish to see differently, then take the initiative to voice your opinions because you are the subject matter expert. It’s an exciting time for this university and we need to keep the momentum of continuous improvement going.

SGA’s first senate meeting is at 7:30 p.m. September 4 at the Rockwell Pavilion in the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library.

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