Students and senators gather for annual town halls

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Photo by Patrick Goodman

This past week, the University of Dallas Student Government (SG) gave its constituents a chance to eat some Chick-fil-A and connect with their representatives during annual town hall meetings. 

The town hall meetings have a two-fold purpose. They give students a chance to voice concerns and questions to their representatives and allow the representatives to inform their constituents about SG’s current initiatives. 

Joe Scholz, SG President, said that the meetings “provide a really great opportunity for senators to get to know their constituents better.”

“It’s a great chance for SG to just be present, to learn about what’s going well, what can be improved,” said Scholz.

The first meeting was for international students and took place on Nov. 12. The meeting had 15 attendees. 

One topic of discussion were the plans for International Week and the involved events. Concerns that the students brought forward focused on the integration of international students into campus life. 

They mentioned international student workshops to learn more about obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, as well as post-graduation support. The students also discussed an orientation process that would include a seminar on American culture and Catholicism, which could help international students to meet each other. 

The junior class meeting also took place on Nov. 12 and had 15 attendees. Scholz was present to answer questions, however, the junior students did not have any for him. One topic of the meeting was the change in dining hall hours. In an email, Scholz said that “all of the meetings were ‘Highly Engaged & Very Well-Attended.'”

The freshman class meeting was on Nov. 13. The freshman class senators focused on explaining to their constituents the purpose and usefulness of Student Government. Freshman senator Charlie Spurgin said that they wanted to stress that “SG does make an impact and students can make an impact on campus.”

The freshman meeting took place in Gorman B and the 30 attendees filled up two or three rows of seats. When asked if she had attended the town hall, freshman Faith Berry, said “No, because I didn’t know that it existed, maybe if I had I would have gone.”

The commuter town hall meeting was held on Nov. 14. According to Chris Phan, the commuter representative, about twenty people attended the meeting. 

The meeting involved talking about “future plans for commuters, such as a commuter lounge, commuter lockers and hopefully commuter parking spots,” Phan said.

Students also voiced concerns about the times that meetings for commuters are held, as some find that meetings in the evening conflict with other obligations. 

Joe Scholz said that there was also a suggestion for a “centralized programming calendar with a filter, so you can filter out different types of RA events … that maybe aren’t open to commuters.”

In an interview prior to the senior town hall on Nov. 19, senior senator Katie Groves, explained that the meeting will focus on discussing topics about improving UD’s student government for future classes. 

One topic, in particular, will be the redrafting of the constitution, one of the main goals of which is to “make sure that student government can run more smoothly, more effectively for the future student governments and the future senates that will be chairing it,” said Groves. 

Other topics include plans to restructure the SG committees and the possibility of electing a student-athlete senator in the future.

The sophomore town hall meeting is scheduled to meet following Thanksgiving break.

Among the five sophomore class representatives, there are additional members from different committees. Senator Joey Sharp said that “each of [the sophomore senators] are going to give a little blurb about each of our committees.” They are also planning on updating their constituents on other plans that Student Government is working on. 

The town hall meetings are just one way Student Government makes itself available to its constituents. Other ways to get in touch with Student Government are through SG on the Mall and attending the weekly committee meetings.

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