USS prepares for its first meeting

Kelly Pickerel


Credit: DKS Editors

All nine members of the Undergraduate Student Senate say they are ready to start a new semester with a greater focus on students’ needs.

“We’re trying to show what resources USS has to offer,” said Elizabeth Eckels, senator for student relations. “We’re here for a purpose, not just to say, ‘Hey, we’re student government.'”

The first USS meeting of the semester, at 4 p.m. tomorrow in the Student Center’s Governance Chambers, will address classroom renovation concerns. Meetings are open to the public, and the senators encourage students to attend.

Executive director Katie Hale said the senators have been using their individual positions to bring a better image to the group, while working on their goals for the year.

“We want to seem friendly and approachable,” she said. “We have a lot of services. We’re here to accommodate students.”

John Wetmore, senator for governmental affairs, said he has started looking into ways to bring tax-free textbooks to campus. He’s developing packets to give out to legislators in the area.

“Certain people around the university have more pull in Columbus,” Wetmore said. “(Tax-free textbooks) could be better for Ohio overall – not just Kent State.”

Eckels said her main goals have changed since her election, but she still has the same focus.

“I want to open up dialogue between students and administrators,” she said.

Eckels had originally planned to continue providing “Coffee with the President,” but she said, “It’s more important for students to know who’s running their college than to try and talk to (President Lester) Lefton.”

She said she has started “Donuts with the Deans,” as a way for students to meet and talk to deans and administrators of all 13 colleges. The first session is within the College of Arts and Sciences, and Eckels said she hopes to have a campus-wide impact by next semester.

Michael Hammond, senator for research and development, said he’s forming a street team to help him find what students want changed.

“If you don’t like something, we have the contacts to get that done,” he said.

For example, Hammond was the driving force behind the burrito bar located in Prentice Caf‚. He said most students enjoy Chipotle, but they can’t always access it while on campus. Hammond suggested a burrito bar to Dining Services and they acted on it.

Hale said every senator has his or her own individual goals, but mostly everyone is concentrating on the new Undergraduate Student Government.

The USG will expand student government from nine senators to 25. The additional members will represent each academic department or a specific interest. Supporters of the revamped system say it will help better represent the student body.

“My number one project is the new USG and getting that off the ground,” Hale said. “I’m working on other things, like keeping the Student Center open later and busing downtown – but everything relates back to (USG).”

Contact student politics reporter Kelly Pickerel at [email protected].