Student Government seeks to unify students

Riley Beckwith, Staff Writer

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SG President Joey Kelly works to improve the UD experience. Photo by Anthony Garnier.

The University of Dallas’ Student Government (SG) has continued to meet its goals for the academic year with marked success.

After the senate elections at the start of the semester, the Student Council vice president senior Xavier Bick outlined SG’s goals for the 2015-16 year.

“The Executive Council this year is really focusing on efficiency, communication and improving the general image of SG on campus,” Bick said.

Just past the midway point of the fall semester, these goals are already coming to fruition in truly exciting ways.

SG President junior Joey Kelly identified three major platforms in his work up to this point.

The first is time-sensitive and, as such, has been the primary focus: working with Aramark to improve campus dining services.

Kelly has already led a trip to Austin College to compare dining services, and he says two more trips are planned for November.

Administration, he says, is on board with adding 10-meal, and other meal-count plans back to the menu, provided the student body demonstrates interest in such a change.

Kelly, who says support for this change is evident, is confident that these options will be returning in the coming year.

Additionally, clubs and organizations are now allowed open catering and do not have to use Aramark’s services.

“Essentially, now clubs and orgs can use whoever they want to cater their event, the 14-meal and 10-meal plans are most likely coming back, hours are probably going to extend and we are working with the administration to find a way to get better prices in the Rat,” Kelly said.

The second item on Kelly’s agenda is student-athlete relations, which he says are more complex and can only be solved over time.

“So far I have met with [Dean of Constantin College] Dr. Sanford, student-athlete leader, Liz Spencer [head of Blue Crew] and[Associate Provost] Dr. Norris to gain feedback and understand how to approach this agenda,” Kelly said. “We are hoping to run some events so faculty and students can get behind their athletes more.”

He notes that Blue Crew and athletes have done a fine job on their own at bringing school pride to the community this year.

Finally, Kelly is working on increasing financial transparency.

Because the university is a non-profit institution, UD’s finances are available online at guidestar.org.

Kelly hopes to compile the online data in a file that will be easier to read.

“I want the students to understand where their money is going and how this university is using our tuition to further our educational experience,” Kelly said. “I personally believe it’s easier to spend money when I know exactly what I’m getting.”

Kelly’s clear-headed leadership is throughout SG.

Executive council secretary, junior Annamica Reding, has been heavily involved with the Freshman Mentoring Program.

“[The program has been] more successful than I could have imagined,” Reding said.

The program, which seeks to unify the classes and foster a welcoming climate for freshmen, has a total of 150 participants this year.

Reding pointed out that this is five times the number of the previous academic year.

The senate itself is also markedly enthusiastic. Senate meetings have been running longer and have resulted in more proposed content and ideas than in years past.

Reding, who has been involved with SG since her freshman year, says that the senate this year is comprised of some of the most involved, eager leaders to date.

The senate has also chosen to collaborate with Student Programming at UD (SPUD) through committees.

This connection is strictly optional on the senate’s part and does not always take place.

This active connection between the senate and SPUD helps unify different aspects of SG.

Upcoming senate endeavors include an event that will allow the student body to engage with the seminarians outside of academics.

Additionally, the Student Concerns Committee is planning a town hall meeting between students and administration to take place this November.

This meeting will focus on a topic of interest for students and allow them to discuss the matter with administration in an open forum.

The senate has not wasted any time in implementing strategies to unify the UD student body, and hopefully these efforts will result in an increasingly enthusiastic and welcoming community.

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