Daily Egyptian

Meet Joshua Bowens, your new USG president

By Abbey La Tour

Undergraduate Student Government President Joshua Bowens wants to shake up student government.

Bowens, a junior from Chicago studying political science, decided to run for his current office after feeling something was missing from campus when he transferred from SIUE.

A failed bid for the position of student trustee led him to run join USG as a senator. It was there he said he was given his first real opportunity to become “a listener of the people.”

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In April, Bowens said his focus as president would be getting senators to be more involved on campus.  

Bowens said via email that he wants to have senators host town hall meetings each month, and they will still be required to have office hours to speak with the students they represent on USG.

In order to increase communication between faculty and students, Bowens said he also wants more senator involvement in meetings for the professors’ unions and vice versa.

“We have begun efforts to bridge the gap between the two constituent groups,” Bowens said.

He said he hopes that by increasing communication between professors, administration and students, the climate on campus will change.

Bowen’s executive board members — who had not yet been approved by the senate at the time this article was published — are working on ways to hold senators more accountable, he said. One idea they have is to make a code of ethics for senators to abide by.

They are also planning on rolling out a new system for electing senators, which Bowens said would be similar to the system in place for electing the president. Bowens said the purpose behind the new system would be to make sure senators are serving the students they represent on USG.

Although Illinois ended its over two-year budget impasse in July,  Bowens said the state’s financial situation is something that will “always be an issue if we have improper spending and poor budgeting.”

“USG’s focus this year is to improve student life … including the campus morale,” Bowens said. “Who knows what may happen six months to a year from now [regarding the state budget situation].”

Bowens said that students are also partially to blame for not being very vocal to their state representatives. He suggested students hold more lobby days to have their voices heard.

“I cannot do anything without the students,” Bowens said. “We have to start caring about the problems that affect each and every last person on this campus.”

In March, SIU President Randy Dunn suggested that the Carbondale campus cut at least $30 million in spending due to the state financial crisis and its effect on the university.

When asked what direction the university should take with their cuts, Bowens said a start would be cutting administrative salaries.

Asked about the newly appointed Chancellor Carlo Montemagno, Bowens said he is excited to see the changes he brings to campus.

“Can’t wait until he actually starts and we start checking some things off our to-do list,” Bowens said.

Managing editor Abbey La Tour can be reached at a[email protected]ailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @LaTourAbbey

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