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Saturday, December 4, 2021

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Appointments highlight SGA meeting, speaker urges senators to act


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During the Student Government Association Senate meeting Wednesday night, senators approved several appointments, including a new College of Technology senator. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

Wednesday’s meeting of the Student Government Association’s Senate resulted in the appointment of a new senator for the College of Technology and five committee appointments, in addition to announcements regarding upcoming changes at the University.

Following a discussion on the College of Technology’s impending move to Sugar Land, biotechnology junior Harold Garcia was appointed as the college’s senator. Garcia said he would focus on working with advisers to ease the strain of the transition on students.

Three students were appointed to the Scholarship and Financial Aid Advisory Committee, which oversees and makes recommendations for the operation and customer service of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

“I had a tough time going through the financial aid process,” said Christopher Caldwell, a political science junior and new SFAAC appointee. “I’m interested in helping other students and making sure that the process of financial aid and getting scholarships is just a little bit easier for every student because paying for college should be no issue for anyone.”

Caldwell, a first-year student at the University, also serves as vice chair for the Food Service Advisory Committee.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things,” Caldwell said, quoting former President Ronald Reagan to reflect his style of student leadership. “He’s the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.”

Bria Cato, a psychology junior, and Mark Bergman, a chemical engineering senior and previous chair for the Committee, were also appointed to SFAAC. Both said they would like to see an improvement in customer service and student satisfaction when it comes to financial aid.

After Fahad Rehan, former SGA appointee to the Student Fees Advisory Committee, publicly resigned from the position at Wednesday’s meeting, SGA President Shane Smith made a last-minute appointment to the committee.

SFAC will start hearing presentations from Student Service Fee-funded units and organizations on Friday. Most of the committee’s responsibilities are within a one-month period.

David Kazanci, a finance junior and previous Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee vice chair, was reappointed to TPAC after briefing the Senate on his accomplishments on the committee. Previously, Kazanci worked to put up warning signs in locations where people are commonly ticketed in addition to proposing attendance standards for TPAC’s student members.

Prior to enrolling at UH, emergency SFAC appointee and liberal studies senior Alex Gonzalez was the owner of a successful business. He said his previous experience in organizations that could have benefited from more funding is what motivated him to apply for SFAC.

“Organizations that do benefit the students and do give back to the students are the most important,” Gonzalez said.

Additionally, Smith, who is a member of the Food Service Advisory Committee, said the committee successfully facilitated a change in the default on-campus meal plan.

Going forward, students failing to select a plan by the deadline will be defaulted to the least expensive and most-used plan, Cougar Choice 150, as opposed to the most expensive plan offered, Shasta Pass Unlimited. The change will save students over $350 each semester, according to prices listed on Dining Services’ website.

Speaker of the Senate Omar Jamal concluded the meeting by reminding senators to ensure that they are attending SGA events and doing their part to interact with the students.

“As a student leader, it feels like we’re kind of in bubbles. We can see the impacts we’re having, but really what matters is the impact we’re having on students,” Jamal said. “Go out and verify it, because you can’t do it sitting in this room and you can’t do it sitting in the SGA office.”

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