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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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SGA’s 56th Administration releases Executive Agenda


SGA President Allison Lawrence, along with her administration, released her Executive Agenda, which details the initiatives the 56th administration will work towards. | Courtesy of Allison Lawrence

The Student Government Association’s 56th Administration has released its Executive Agenda, which details its advocacy and legislative plans for the year.

The agenda outlines the polices the Students Unite party ran on, like sustainability, increasing insurance coverage and raising student worker’s wages, and also initiatives they did not run on but want to highlight during their tenure.

“The primary initiatives, those are all things I ran on,” said SGA President Allison Lawrence. “I ran on only things I genuinely am pretty passionate about.”

The three main initiatives outlined during the campaign are fleshed out in the agenda. Lawrence hopes her administration can establish a student minimum wage for on-campus jobs and set the minimum wage to $8, then $9, campus-wide.

Along with increasing student wages, she also is in support of the Student Wage referendum, which means she is in favor of raising student pay and all the work that has been behind that.

“We just had a meeting where we were talking about the general timeline for student wages raising,” Lawrence said. “We’re going to be creating another work-through, all the major players will be meeting up again and we’re going to see how $9 is going to affect the departments, how $10 is going to affect the departments and what the timeline looks like.”

Another main policy Lawrence’s party ran on was getting the UH Student Health Center to accept third-party insurance. She also plans to work with the Health Center to reduce the prices while increasing services offered by the center. Another plan is to work with the Health Center to increase awareness about human papillomavirus infection (HPV) and the vaccine offered for it.

HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease can cause warts, may lead to cancer and is sexually transmitted. The vaccine is supposed to reduce the chance of cancer and warts, but it does not prevent cervical cancer in women.

Coogs Unite’s sustainability initiatives will go past increasing solar energy, which they outlined during the campaign processes. Lawrence aims to increase funding for green projects such as adding more water bottle refilling stations in the residence halls and allocating funds to students or faculty members who have ideas to make campus greener. She wants to reduce the University’s carbon footprint through her sustainability initiatives.

While UH currently has a community garden outside of Cougar Woods Dining Hall, this will soon be closing. The garden will most likely be moved behind the A.D. Bruce Religion Center. The administration also aims to add a compost garden, but the location is not yet decided upon.

“The compost (garden), the location will probably depend on where Facilities says is feasible for it,” said Vice President Maysarah Kazia.

Kazia also outlined her own initiatives, along with initiatives the deputy chief of staff, Tania Hameed, plans to achieve, which were not publicized during the campaign. Kazia plans to work on mentorship programs, religious inclusion and infrastructure improvement.

She wants the implementation of a mentorship program for international students. She hopes to work with International Student and Scholar Services and the Alumni Association to get the program up and running.

“That would be with students who live on campus, and that would just allow them to assimilate into the country, essentially,” Kazia said.

Kazia is the first Hijabi woman to be SGA vice president, and she wants to increase the amount of spaces students can easily pray or meditate in around campus.

The initiative is not yet entirely mapped out, but the current working plan, Kazia said, is to have spaces in multiple campus areas that students can use for prayer. Currently, the campus has one place designated for prayer and meditation: the A.D. Bruce Religion Center.

“That’s a very personal initiative to me, being Muslim and praying five times a day on campus, it can be difficult,” Kazia said. “It is something I’ve seen a lot of students on campus struggle with.”

The main pillar of Kazia’s infrastructure improvement initiative is to make the campus more accessible for students with disabilities.

“Something I know senators have talked about is having braille in every building and some accommodations like that,” Lawrence said.

Another aspect of the administration’s plan is to improve the SGA’s Emerging Leaders program, which allows students to participate in SGA and learn without being in any of the three branches of SGA.

Every initiative the administration ran on is close to both Lawrence’s and Kazia’s hearts, making it all the more important to them that they aim to get their plans into gear, they said.

“Every single initiative I have relates to a specific person or a specific incident, and that’s why it’s more of almost an emotional attachment to them,” Kazia said. “It’s not just ‘Oh I want this done for the campus’, it’s also, there’s real people affected by these initiatives.”

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