Candidates must prioritize necessities

Parking, jobs and the ever-rising fees and bills are only a few challenges facing students in coming semesters.

Student candidates for today and tomorrow’s Student Government Association elections are focusing on these concerns to get students to polls. ‘

Students graduating in May are going to be scrambling for jobs. According to CNN, they will be job hunting in an economy that’s job loss stands at 3.3 million in the last six months, bringing unemployment to a 25-year high with up to 12.5 million unemployed workers. No matter how motivated and prepared a new graduate is, there is likely an experienced person hungry for the same job who will be considered for hire before them.

As a side effect, underemployment, or the number of people working part-time jobs plus those who have gotten too discouraged to job seek, stands at an all time high at 14.8 percent. ‘

As of 2000, a Upromise study found more than 50 percent of students held down jobs while in school, 10 percent of which were full-time hours of more than 35 hours a week.’

In addition to earning, students are also concerned with getting more bang for their hard-earned bucks. ‘

Average UH course fees increased about 107 percent between 2003 and 2007 according to a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board study.’

Student government has a vital role to play in regulating student fees at UH through the Student Fee Advisory Committee. Four of the nine student members of SFAC are slated to be members of SGA, according to SFAC bylaws. ‘

The committee, with five SGA members serving, continuously suggested no fee additions for 2009 when they met in February 2008, instead allocating 8 one-time disbursements earmarked for specific expenses according to the recommendations approval. ‘

SFAC fee recommendations from FY 2005-09 are available for viewing at its Web site http://uh.edu/sfac.

One of the more debated fees at UH is the optional slew of parking options.’

UH Parking and Transportation’s Web site lists the descriptions of various parking permits at http://uh.edu/plantops/pts/pts_permits_students.htm. The rates are only listed in a separate downloadable PDF document, adding a seemingly unnecessary layer to the process of comparing rates and finding the right permit.’

Annual parking rates range from a garage option at $214 to an economy plus at $80.’ Parking and Transportation Services issues tickets to parking offenders, ranging from $10 to $250 dollars, depending on the offense.’

Given the difficulty of finding a parking spot on campus, which leaves students lurking in the parking lots for up to an hour and shadowing departing students to their cars, addressing parking options is a priority for several candidates. ‘

Finding a candidate who speaks to your needs and priorities takes a little research. ‘

Downloadable lists of candidates, available positions and even a Youtube commercial are available on the SGA election Web site at http://www.uhsga.com/elections.php.

Effective student government can help alleviate parking, rising fees and college-specific issues. ‘

The time to act is now. Help your own future as a citizen of the UH community. Familiarize yourself with the issues and candidates, and vote either today or tomorrow.’

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