USG looks to expand student involvement

Undergraduate Student Government has plans to improve student interaction.

The school year’s first USG meeting Tuesday had low senator attendance, but the group made plans to enhance its program through a new communication team.

Brittany Greathouse, a junior from Bolingbrook studying accounting and marketing as well as the president of USG, said one of her main goals for the year is to help students become more involved with Registered Student Organizations.

“The meeting was a little rough because of the senator turnout,” Greathouse said. “The biggest problem that USG faces is to get students together to talk about topical problems like street safety instead of
parties and events.”

Greathouse said the group serves students by helping them get their opinions heard by
university administrators.

“This year USG will be enforcing open communication with deans and students,” she said.

Another one of the USG’s goals this year is to keep student retention high through RSO participation, Greathouse said.

“Studies show that when students get involved on campus they are more likely to be happy and stay in school,” she said.

Kenneth Newsome, a senior from Chicago studying social work, was the only senator in attendance at the meeting.

Newsome said he is looking forward to impacting the campus through USG this year as well as being on the finance committee.

There are normally 40 senators on USG, Greathouse said. She said there must be 20 in attendance at meetings in order to vote on an issue.

To become a senator, a student must have at least a 2.5 grade point average and complete a senator petition that requires 50 signatures
within their college.

The prospective senator must also attend a senate session to present his or her interest to become one, get voted in by the senators and
then get sworn in by the USG president.

A senator must reapply every year to be a part of USG.

The finance committee dictates how much funding student organizations receive.

“The committee takes a large amount of commitment,” Newsome said. “But its worth it because I get to leave my mark on campus.”

Four new senators were
inaugurated at Tuesday’s meeting. Adrian Miller, a freshman from Carbondale studying pre-law, will represent the College of Liberal Arts; Brandon Willingham, a junior from Chicago studying journalism, will represent the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts; Dan Wabomnor, a senior from Chicago studying civil engineering, will represent the College of Engineering; and Oliver Keys, a junior from East Saint Louis studying automotive technology, will represent the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. Newsome will represent the
College of Business.

Senators enhance student life because they give students a representative who can bring their concerns to administrators,
Greathouse said.

The communication team is a new effort that will employ a professional group of students who have gained skills through academics,
Greathouse said.

Editors, photographers, scriptwriters, strategists and videographers will all be needed, she said.

Students who are employed on the team will provide and coordinate a public relations and advertising campaign to make a positive difference on campus by working with different student organizations and USG, she said.

“I want the RSOs to not have to get in contact with us, but USG to get in contact with them,” Greathouse said. “USG will try to match students to RSOs that interest them and make information about the RSOs easily accessible.”

Hannah George, USG’s chief-of-staff and a junior majoring in social work, said she hopes USG will have a good year.

“USG challenges students and members to stay involved while providing a unique opportunity to be a part of the campus and university,” she said. “It will be a great year.”

All students interested in becoming a part of USG or simply interested in the organization are encouraged to attend meetings.

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