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New UISG president: The initiatives for next year’s UISG

BY JOHN RIGBY - GUEST OPINION | APRIL 13, 2010 7:30 AM

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As next year’s University of Iowa Student Government president, my administration is tremendously excited for the opportunity that awaits us. We look forward to working with the students, the UI administration, the community, and any other interested parties to make sure we correctly address the issues that are important. We have quite a big to-do list, but that will not cause us to hesitate for one moment.

One of the main things we look to work on is finally having a 24-hour campus building that’s accessible to all students, which we hope will be the IMU. By having this facility open all day and night, we’d be able to provide students with a late-night service that would allow them to continue their studying, rather than having to pack up and go home at 2 a.m.

Another issue that our administration cares deeply about is civic/community engagement. In our eyes, the best, most proven way to stay engaged is to participate in the election process. We think it’s absolutely crucial that students are informed about the political issues that face them and are educated about the candidates — be they local, state, or federal — who seek to address those issues.

By working with UI political organizations, such as University Democrats and College Republicans, as well as local businesses, nonprofits, and the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, we’d like to organize a broad and expansive “get out the vote” campaign that would seek to rally UI students around the common component of democracy: voting.

We also want transparency to define our term. We think it’s important that students know what services we can offer them and what we’re doing to address their concerns. We’d like to see: posting of all executive officers’ office hours online, posting of all legislation and letters of resolution online, more links to UI websites on the UISG homepage, an updated blog on the webpage, updated funding information to the webpage, and, finally, our own KRUI radio program.

We want to see student artwork have more of a presence on the main campus and downtown. We also want to work with the various undergraduate departments in developing an online database for course and instructor evaluations and also extending the online window of the add/drop process.

We’d like to investigate the idea of having service hours included or noted on students’ official transcripts, which would encourage student involvement in the community. And we want to implement a program in which students would donate materials and amenities that they no longer need.

We also want to make sure that UISG has a larger role in Welcome Week activities. It would be a prime opportunity to promote UISG’s services and get more first-year students interested in the organization.

We also look forward to being tireless crusaders for student interests, such as tuition, both at the Statehouse and Board of Regent meetings; partnering with the City Council to promote responsible drinking and to confront safety issues facing the community; and helping to bridge the gulf that currently exists between the UI students and the administration.

Though we have specific goals that we hope to accomplish by the end of our term, we’re always open to new ideas and hearing student input. Our door in the UISG office (260 IMU) will always be open, and we look forward to communicating with UI students, advocating for them, and finding proactive solutions to some of the concerns they may have. Together, we all can make a profound impact on campus and have a direct hand in the positive development of the UI.

John Rigby is a UI junior and the new UISG president.


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