At the first meeting of the semester, Alejandra Buitrago, Union of Students at the University of Alaska president, swore in history freshman Andrew Lessig as a new senator.
The 10 other senators in attendance unanimously voted Lessig into office.
During his speech before the election, Lessig said he’s been involved as a class representative since grade school and wants to continue to participate in politics to help serve his campus.
Buitrago said Lessig turned in the mandatory 100 signatures required for consideration for the position on the first day of classes.
She said she encourages others to apply to fill the remaining seven senator positions on USUAA because, sometimes, people are not aware of how much time is needed to participate in student government and do not successfully complete their term.
Senators are required to be on at least two standing committees, be in the office for at least two hours and do at least one senator project.
Buitrago also informed the union that she is looking to find interested members to be a part of the Green Fee Board.
She said after the meeting that the Green Fee Board will be responsible for the funds collected from the $3 green fee students will begin to pay next semester.
“It’s a new thing, but students really wanted it,” she said.
The fee was inspired by a similar one at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, charging students $20 per semester for sustainability projects.
The UAF Student Initiative for Renewable Energy Now fee has already paid for a solar panel project that replaced 4.5 percent of the university’s 2009 energy expenditure.
Buitrago said the board needs three USUAA members, two non-member students and one faculty adviser to be on the board.
She said interested people should contact USUAA administrative assistant Anita Bradbury at 907-786-1203.
While there were no committee, representative or assembly board reports because they have not met yet this semester, two senators talked about carry-over projects from the spring semester.
Senator Johhnie Templeton said he was still working with parking services as a student representative.
Buitrago said after the meeting that Templeton communicated with parking services about students’ discontent with lack of parking on campus and is making efforts to have snow plowed to seldom used areas of campus during the winter rather than occupying space in parking lots.
Senator Max Bullock updated the union about his efforts to start a potentially free bike share program on campus.
He said after the meeting his idea started when the University Police Department donated eight bikes to the union that were used in crimes.
Afterwards, he said he found prototypes for bikes share programs at other universities in the country and city-run bike share programs in other states.
“UAA is a very unique campus. We’re very spread out,” he said.
Ideally, Bullock wants 90 bikes for students to be able to ‘rent’ with their Wolfcard for free for at least 2 hours, enough time to ride the bike to a class. He said students would be charged 15 cents for every minute after that, which would, admittedly, rake up hefty fees.
However, he said the bikes aren’t meant to be used for a long periods of time.
“That’s not the point,” he said, commenting that the university already offers opportunities for students to rent bikes for a longer period of time at the outdoor equipment check-out room located in the student union.
Bullock strips, repairs and paints the bikes himself to ensure they are in working condition.
English Senior Joseph Selmont spoke as a speaker from the floor, representing the UAA Concert Board.
He told USUAA members that the board is seeking a representative from USUAA to help plan concerts on campus.
Senator Victor de Carli asked how funding is chosen.
Selmont said concert board members and club council vote on requests based primarily on how much it will benefit the student body.
He said other factors, such as whether or not the requesting group or individual has received previous funding and how much money is being requested also plays a factor in the selection process.
Later in the meeting, Tracey Stewart, graduate student association representative, was unanimously voted to fill the concert board representative position.
Stewart is a former KRUA volunteer and said she is interested in learning the business side of music.
Paula Fish, assistant director of student leadership and USUAA staff adviser, said the Alumni Association volunteered to fund a photo booth for the homecoming dance this year, saving the union about $1,400. Because the money has already been budgeted for homecoming, she said it must be used sometime during Homecoming Week Oct. 6-13.
She also said there will be reduced hours at the student clubs and Greek information desk in the student union because a staff member will have to reduce work hours while they pursue a master’s degree.
Senator applications and more information about USUAA can be found at http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/unionofstudents/index.cfm.