SGA candidates have last word

Daniel Cato, candidate for Senator At-Large:

This recession sucks. OK, maybe I could have put that a little more eloquently, but I really don’t feel like it. It just sucks.’

Here we were going to school, working on the side, doing homework in the middle, and all of a sudden’hellip; bam, the whole thing comes down.’ Now what do we do? We’ve got tuition to pay, books to buy, cars to fill, mouths to feed and it just sucks!’

See what I did just there? Yeah, don’t do it. Complaining about this isn’t going to get us anywhere. Was it our fault? No. Could we have done anything to prevent it? No. Can we do something about it now? Yes, if at least on a personal level. ‘

First off, we have to manage our money. If you have online banking you’re already ten steps ahead of the guy who doesn’t. Being able to track your purchases and budget your spending is smart even in times of general prosperity. In a recession? Essential. Watching what we spend is the best way to avoid financial pitfalls, especially when money is tight.’

Secondly, cut out the unnecessary spending. I try to bring my lunch as often as possible. Why? Not because I particularly like sandwiches (nor because our school is severely lacking in food choices), but because I was spending 5-7 bucks a day on food. Think about that.’

Let’s say someone spends $5 a day on food at school. He goes to school four days a week, four weeks a month, roughly 3 ‘frac12; months a semester, and two semesters a year. By my math, which isn’t very good, but this problem is easy enough, that’s $560 a year.’

There are still groceries to buy, but I think if you sit down and work it all out, you’ll be saving enough money to make the switch to the brown bag ‘- if at least for a few days a week.’

Another unnecessary cost? Alcohol. Before you start laughing and say I’m an idiot, I’m only talking about the stuff we buy at the clubs. I’m not completely crazy.’

Every $6 drink you buy better be worth it. If not, get buzzed (or more) at home. Bars tend to be better, but they’re still out to make a killing off each pint.’

Lastly, have a plan for after graduation. Then a plan B. Then a plan C. And if you’re just one of those kind of people, a plan D.’

With loan payments due six months after graduation, if you haven’t scored yet (in the job market sense) don’t be afraid to put the dream job on hold for a year or two. Once the job market opens back up, get out there and start looking again. ‘

Basically, the key to the recession is to not panic, but to buy dirt-cheap stock with the money you saved by bringing your lunch and getting drunk at home. See, it’s always good to have a plan.

Christopher Busby, candidate for CLASS seat #4:

In today’s financial standing we have come to a point where the mistakes of the past administrations are beginning to affect our University at a more local level.’

To be more clear, the cost of tuition has skyrocketed and there seems to be no end in sight. With fewer job opportunities and increasing prices, students are finding it difficult to manage the financial burden.’

I feel that it is a responsibility of not only our national government, but also our local governments to aid students as much as possible.’

Education for has long been neglected in U.S. society and it’s time to hold our leaders accountable and form a plan to move forward in these difficult times.’

As a member of your Student Government Association, I would work to implement changes that would benefit all students by cooperating with University administration to create an affordable tuition plan.’

In negotiating with the administration I would push for a plan that would include a freeze on tuition increases. Another component I would push for is fee usage reforms.

With the state of the economy, however, it would be impossible for the University to proceed without increasing costs. Aside from working to make these increases as minimal as possible, I will work to make sure that any fee or tuition increase will be well scrutinized and evaluated accordingly.’

It is easy for our administration to claim that tuition and fee increases are necessary, but as senator I would require our officials to make their claim with precise details and strict oversight.

Another issue most students are facing in this economic crisis is finding employment. It is essential that the administration work to bring more business opportunities to campus.’

Even more essential is that these businesses have student preference in hiring. Many students rely on part-time employment to meet the costs of college where financial aid fails. The more jobs that we provide on campus, which have hours that are flexible and conscious of student needs, the better off many students will be.

While these measures are all great ideas, they are merely the beginning. It will be the efforts of the students and their government organizations that will effectively bring about change.

‘ I would like to think of myself as a proponent of the students and their needs and would enjoy the opportunity to serve as your representative for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences seat NO. 4.

Mary Martin, candidate for CLASS seat #4:

The nation is amidst the greatest economic challenge it has faced since the great depression.’

The effects of this crisis hit close to home for many Cougars who are concerned about staying in college, paying for education and finding employment after attaining a degree.’

This is a widespread issue that the University, in coalition with the student body and the Houston community must find a way to resolve.

The University needs to implement campus wide budget cuts on non-essential items and projects so that it is able to focus spending and resources on financial aid and scholarships as much as possible.’

A collective effort to utilize’ and recycle energy more efficiently will reduce costs and help bring in revenue from the recyclable material.’

New methods of procurement such as buying in bulk as a university versus per department will also reduce costs.’

The University must use the resources it has and distribute all federal and state aid that it is allotted in the most prudent and efficient way possible.

The current difficulty and uncertainty in securing student loans and the rise in unemployment have severely heightened the detrimental effect of any increase in tuition and fees.’

It is clear that, in addition to more efficient disbursement of financial aid, there needs to be a tuition and fee freeze for the next school year.’

UH must continue and expand programs that financially benefit students such as the ‘Two for the Price of One Program’ in Summer Session IV and the ‘Family Contract’ which provides full coverage of tuition and fees through federal and university aid for a student in a family of four that makes less than $30,000 a year. ‘

These initiatives will help deter students from dropping out, make education more affordable and curb the effects of this crisis.

It is imperative that the University continues to build stronger alumni connections to use these connections as a primary resource in finding jobs for graduating Cougars and internships for current students.’

The University boasts an alumni network connected with practically every industry and field here in the fourth largest city in the U. S., in the state of Texas and across the nation; now is the time for the University to call on the stewardship of its alumni and community.’

As the University contemplates how it will weather this economic crisis, it will be paramount to keep the students first in the decision maker’s minds; after all, buildings, administration and faculty alone could not constitute a university.

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