New Undergraduate Student Government officers said they plan to achieve goals — ranging from increased sustainability to better utilizing the Ronald Tutor Campus Center — by increasing communication and building upon achievements from the past administration.
Over the summer, USG representatives said they plan to solidify their goals and conduct research to ease the pressure when officers return in the fall, USG President Mikey Geragos said. Geragos, USG Vice President Vinnie Prasad and the USG Senate were sworn into office April 3.
“We’ve finalized the team and the budget,” Geragos said. “Now it’s less administrative processes and down to work.”
One priority for Geragos’ administration is to continue the previous administration’s advocacy for increased Campus Center use.
“What [former USG President] Monish Tyagi set out [to] improve at the Campus Center, he accomplished,” Geragos said. “He helped advocate for longer hours and really drove students to use it.”
Geragos and Prasad, however, said that USG is still “getting there,” in terms of developing all that the Campus Center can offer.
“We want to increase the hours even more and, with that, increase student usage,” Prasad said.
Though catering to the concerns and well-being of students is an important goal for USG, many students said the organization seems inaccessible to the general student body.
“When students have a problem or wish they could change something, it seems like they’re often at a loss about who to get in contact with to change it,” Residential Senator Emma Katz said. “They end up just talking among themselves or making a meme about it.”
Prasad said disjointed communication is what the USG Senate hopes to mitigate in the upcoming year by making themselves more accessible to students and truly giving a voice to the student body.
“The [senators] are the ones that represent the student voice, figuring out what it is they want and bringing that back to [the president and vice president],” Prasad said.
USG recognizes the need for student input on issues relevant to campus life, such as sustainability.
“We want to make sure that [students are] being heard when it comes to redevelopment of [EVK Restaurant and Grill] and Café 84,” Geragos said. “We also want to create a full-time director position on sustainability. We want students to be heard as well, not just administrators.”
Geragos and Prasad said they proposed creating a Green Fund. The fund, a pool of about $3 per student, would sponsor sustainability projects on campus.
Many students said they felt that a Green Fund could be a promising way to tackle sustainability.
“That’s a great way of having a sustainable campus,” said Shraddha Chaugule, a doctoral student studying pharmaceutical economics and policy. “That’s not a big amount from every person, put pooled, its really considerable.”
In addition to campus development and administrative concerns, Geragos and Prasad said they also recognize the importance of school spirit and attendance at student events.
Some students said they were disappointed that only a small number of students attended the musical performances organized by Program Board, which is overseen by USG, during the 2011-2012 school year. Cobra Starship, Macklemore and Wolfgang Gartner were among the performers brought to campus by Program Board.
William Herron, an undeclared freshman, was impressed with the performers but wished the events had been better publicized.
“[USG] should increase promotion for these events,” Herron said. “They got pretty big names, but all I really saw was one Facebook page about it. There was nothing else really promoting it.”
Geragos said he is committed to improving publicity.
“There is a big emphasis [on] the best talent for any and all events we put on,” Geragos said. “It’s really important to me.”