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UISG announces new initiatives

BY ALEXA SANDON | AUGUST 26, 2014 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa Student Government is pushing for new initiatives this year, focusing most on sustainability and transparency when it comes to international and domestic student relationships.

Over the summer, UISG President Patrick Bartoski and UISG Vice President Jeffrey Ding began preparing for the 2014-15 initiatives.

Ding said one of the major initiatives this year is sustainability.

“[We will be] extending funding support for sustainability projects through the Green Initiatives Fund,” he wrote in an email. “And supporting a summer gardener position.”

The Green Initiative Funding Program is part of UISG’s environmentally oriented initiatives on campus, providing grants for organizations that practice sustainability.

Bartoski said UISG partnered with the Coca-Cola Foundation to expand the grant program.

“The biggest problem that most student organizations face is funding,” Bartoski said. “We have been partnering with the various [organizations] to discuss their options for finding resources [… and] have been partnering with newly formed groups to get them aid.”

Recycling was another project expanded on over the summer, which will continue into this year.

“We have been contacting the landlords of apartments … to increase recycling,” Bartoski said.

George McCrory, a communications specialist with the UI Office of Sustainability, said the office will partner with UISG on several other programs to be launched this year.

One will promote a bike-sharing program on campus in order to reduce the carbon impact of transportation.

Ding said another major initiative UISG will implement this year is the International Student Advisory Board, a program newly created over the summer.

“[It will] provide an institutional voice for international students on campus and … promote initiatives to better interactions between international and domestic students on campus,” he said.

This organization will allow international students to voice their concerns more directly to their peers as well as to help them connect to the UI.

“It will consist of 12 students who interact with liaisons from the Diversity Office and International Programs to hear the concerns that international students face,” Bartoski said.

Ding said the structure of the organization was finalized over the summer months, and it will be further promoted during the semester. It is a part of UISG’s greater goal to engage students on campus.

Sophomore Kirbee Van De Berg said one thing she would like to see is for “UISG [to] have a greater presence on campus.”

UISG intends to meet this need by focusing on strengthening the connections between itself and the diverse organizations on campus, as well as university officials.

“I’m excited for this year and I hope to see UISG continue to strengthen relationships with other student [organizations], administrators, community groups, and government officials,” Ding said.

This year through UISG, there will also be a soft launch of the Iowa Ideas website, a crowd-sourcing resource for various projects and concepts begun by UI students.

“Think of it as the Reddit for University of Iowa student ideas,” Ding said.

Summarizing this year’s UISG goals, Bartoski said he wants “every student’s voice to be heard, and I want safety to be a top priority on-campus.”


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