Bringing life back to the campus: Plans from the newest member of USG

With the new school year starting, the new members of the Undergraduate Student Government are ready to bring more to the campus and its students.

The president of USG, senior Isaiah Overton, said he wanted to give back to the campus after remembering how alive it was his freshman year.

Overton said, during the election, he met with the students on social media platforms and  at events on campus, and partnered with Greek organizations to get his name out there. His main focus as president will be freshmen and sophomores, he said.

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“Their first year of college and last year as a high school student was spent in the house. We really have to find a way to give these students the experiences and the opportunities that they missed and that are very much needed for their growth,” Overton said. “We really need to give them these experiences and opportunities that they need to grow as a person with their professional and personal goals.”

Overton wants students to be aware of the help USG can provide to them.

“USG is an organization for all of us, we are all a part of USG, we are the USG,” he said. “It’s important that we stick together and tell the administration what we need and what we want from the campus.”

Over the summer, Overton worked with campus administration and Chancellor Austin Lane, in search of someone to become  the vice president of student affairs. The position was given to junior Grace Gunn.

Her  main role is to make sure the councils are doing their jobs, she said.

“I want to give them specific goals and take an in-depth look at how they operate as a council to see what they can do better to be more efficient,” Gunn said. “Be a better resource to their constituents that are under them.”

She  said one of her main goals is for the umbrella organizations to become more familiar with each other so they can help one another in the future.

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“I would like all the umbrella organizations to coordinate with one another to plan one big event possibly for the spring semester so that we can have one sort of massive diverse event,” Gunn said. “ I would [also] like a leader, whichever representative from the umbrella organizations, to meet with the Vice-Chancellor of One Diversity, because after talking with him, he wants to get more In touch and in tune with the diverse organizations on campus.”

Having served on the e-board for the Black Affairs Council since her freshman year, Gunn has  seen a few meetings with the VP of student affairs each year  and wants to make it a more casual thing to happen, she said.

“I wouldn’t see as much,” Gunn said. “When we would share reports of things that were being done, the only two active councils were really the Engineering Student Council and Black Affairs Council.”

Executive Vice President Zachary Boehl wants to make sure students know that USG is a voice for them and speaking up will make a difference on campus, he said.

Boehl said one of the main things he wants to focus on is increasing enrollment, which would help improve things on campus more.

“I very much believe that, until we increase enrollment, any improvements that we make will be almost muted,” Boehl said. “It will impact less students, our budget is going to be lower, and we’re still not going to really have that outreach we want.”

Boehl said a goal the campus should move towards is taking better care of the students.

“I believe that alumni are the best recruiters, alumni and current students are far better than any recruiter that you can hire,” Boehl said. “I think we’ve done a poor enough job at taking care of people that they’re no longer doing that.”

Boehl said he would tell people he was  planning to attend  SIU and they would have a negative reaction. 

“If we improve the college experience for the students, we will have more students going home to their people with good stories, which could possibly bring in potential students,” he said.

USG’s first meeting will be held on August 31 at 6:00 p.m. and an interest meeting at 5:00 p.m. Overton said, for students who are interested in joining USG in the future, it’s a great experience and could possibly open doors.

“Not only do you get to advocate for your fellow students, you also get to learn a lot. I’ve been able to sit at a lot of different tables across the campus just because I’m the USG president or just because I’m involved with USG,” he said. . “You really get to build your network up and build a great rapport  with the campus administrators.”

Staff Reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected]

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