Students don’t see image improving for USG

Nicole Stempak

Jonathan Bey, executive director for Undergraduate Student Government, said a goal this semester was to increase the new USG’s accessibility and visibility to students. But some students said they haven’t seen a change.

“I think we got a start of getting our name out there more by putting out bigger programs like the concerts,” Bey said. “… We’re not done by a long shot. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Bey said this year is all about “learning what to do and what not to do.”

Sophomore English major Lisa Mirkovich said she likes the recent changes. She said she heard about USG in the spring because of the elections but hasn’t heard much since then.

“I think it’s a good concept to have more representatives for a diverse range of people,” she said. “But I don’t know what decisions they’re making.”

Mirkovich said being uninformed may be because she’s only on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays, a sentiment John Hwang, senior biological chemistry major, echoed.

“Since I’m not on-campus as much as those students who live here, I’m not exposed to what they (USG) do,” he said.

USG adviser Donna Carlton disagrees. She said she hopes students notice a change with the addition of the academic senators for each college.

“I’ve noticed a lot more participation from the academic area,” Carlton said. “It just opened up communication that wasn’t there before.”

Sophomore accounting major Brandon Colbert said their overall image is the same, but he has seen more USG members at events recently, like at the talent show in October and at Center of Pan-African Culture meetings.

“If they keep this up, then I’d say they’re improving their visibility,” he said. “If you want to be seen, you need to broadcast USG as a whole.”

Colbert suggested USG host more on-campus events like the Lupe Fiasco concert.

“I remember seeing a lot of fliers,” he said. “I could tell because people were buzzing ‘Lupe is here. Lupe is here.'”

Joseph Smith, senior biology and psychology major, said the new USG is more of a name change than anything.

“I don’t think anyone really noticed,” he said. “Unless you have interactions with them, it’s all the same to the rest of us.”

Carlton said any change has its obstacles, and members will reevaluate and review job descriptions “to make sure they are the right fit.” But USG needs feedback, both positive and negative.

“Student government is looking to represent its constituency – undergraduate students – and they need their feedback to make positive changes,” she said, adding the increase from nine to 25 members has had a positive impact on student life.

Carlton suggested any students who are willing to be vocal and take action apply to be a member of student government for the next school year.

Applications will be available at the beginning of next semester and elections will be in mid-March.

Contact student politics reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].