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Mason addresses UISG and ECGPS

BY LILY ABROMEIT | OCTOBER 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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The muffled noise of friendly conversation could be heard from outside the Senate Chmaber of the Old Capitol Tuesday while University of Iowa student leaders mingled with campus officials.

Among those on hand included UI President Sally Mason, a number of academic deans, and vice presidents as part of a joint effort to extend communication campus-wide.

The Senate Chamber gathering marked just the second time since 2011 that the University of Iowa Student Government, Executive Council for Graduate and Professional Students, and other university leaders were brought together in the same room.

President Sally Mason, who opened the meeting with remarks on communication, stressed the importance of strong student-to-administrator partnerships.

“It really is important at the University of Iowa that shared governments plays a real role in all of the activities on campus and that means our students have a real voice in the things that happen on our campus,” Mason said. “It’s important to me to be able to hear the student voices, and I rely very heavily on the student leaders to be able to reflect on what the student experience is, where we can be better, and the kinds of things we need to be doing going forward.”

Touching on several key aspects of the current state of the university, Mason highlighted ongoing demolition to the Hancher/Voxmann/Clapp complex, numerous sustainability efforts, and supporting a second tuition freeze.

Following a May public announcement of the UI Foundation’s newest fundraising campaign, For Iowa. Forever More: The Campaign for the University of Iowa, Mason outlined increased funds.

To date, she said over the past six years as president, the foundation has received donations totaling $1.12 billion.

The goal to raise $1.7 billion in private support by December 2016 has grown since a May 2 estimate of $1.025 billion.

UISG President Katherine Valde said that when the last joint meeting among the two student governments and Mason took place three years ago, officials planned for it to only discuss what each individual government had on its agenda. But this time, she said the session focused on what the groups can accomplish together, calling attention to past efforts as a testament to collaborations.

“Over the last couple months, both of our governments have worked together to achieve [excellent] levels of collaboration of legislative advocacy, sustainability programing and funding for student organizations,” Valde said.

Executive Council President Ben Gillig said the evening provided a chance to streamline conversations.

“Meetings like this are important, first of all, just to give everyone an opportunity to be in the same place at the same time,” he said. “Sometimes when you’re not in the same room you don’t really get a feel for what’s important to the other body and just sort of how they operate.”

Executive Council delegate Danielle D’Ambrosio, a second-year UI graduate student, echoed Valde’s sentiments.

“It’s important for both councils to touch base on what issues they’re working on,” D’Ambrosio said. “Issues that matter to both councils.”

Valde said making these meetings a tradition is something she hopes to see following her graduation this year.

“This is a really productive meeting [and] a good opportunity to let President Mason and her cabinet know what’s going on,” she said. “I was talking to senators after the meeting, and they seemed to really like it, so, hopefully, it will continue over the next few years.”


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