Student Government invites new officials
At the April 26 USUAA student government meeting, president Alejandra Buitrago swore in president elect Andrew Lessig. Lessig then swore in vice president elect Drew Lemish.
Lessig and Lemish swore in two new senators, chemistry major John Paoletti and Jackie Odena.
Bree Villar, UAA student and health education coordinator with the American Lung Association joined fellow student Valeria Delgado and Gabriel Garcia, assistant professor of public health, to speak to USUAA about the current smoking standards on campus and potential future amendments.
According to Villar, students must smoke 20 feet from the doors at University of Alaska buildings and 50 feet from doors at medical buildings in the state of Alaska. The Smoke-Free Task Force and a group of students have gathered 514 student signatures petitioning for a smoke free campus.
According to the group advocating a smoke-free campus, 1,159 campuses in the nation are now smoke-free and 783 are tobacco-free. They said three states have passed laws banning smoking on college campuses.
The group plans to propose a letter and the signed petition to USUAA in the fall for a smoke-free resolution.
Delgado said only 20 percent of UAA students smoke.
Vice president Andrew McConnell said 20 percent of students still means that 3,600 students will be impacted. He also said students living in dorms will be greatly impacted if they wish to smoke and it is -20 degrees outside.
“Ask people out there smoking to sign the petition,” McConnell said.
He also said a lot of work and questioning still need to be done. McConnell said he would like to see UAA be a smoke-free campus, but only if it properly reflects the wants of the students.
Villar said the group is currently studying other smoke-free and or tobacco-free college campuses to create a model for what a smoke-free UAA may look like.
She said the short-term plan is to make UAA a smoke-free campus, then to broaden that to make it a tobacco-free campus.
“It takes time to implement this. And we know that, Villar said.
Senator Johnnie Templeton said he is concerned about potential liability issues. He proposed a hypothetical scenario of a student who was upset because the campus made them switch to alternative forms of nicotine intake.
Villar said the university isn’t making anyone do anything.
Templeton said he supports a tobacco-free campus, but not a smoke-free campus.
Senator Max Bullock, chair of Student Academic Affairs, said the last of seven student ice cream surveys has been finished and the results will soon be put to use to better student life on campus.
President Alejandra Buitrago said she will be working with the school of engineering and she will be a resident assistant next semester. She also said she will be seeing everyone next year, as she is not yet graduating.
Vice President Andrew McConnell handed out certificates to all USUAA members and gave them all personal words of appreciation for their service to UAA and the student body.
Resolution 13-08, written by future USUAA president Andrew Lessig, called for a constitutional convention.
After extensive debate on whether the convention should be held, USUAA voted to hold the convention.
Lessig said the convention is necessary to add a Native Council Representative to USUAA.
“We can have a modern USUAA for modern students,” McConnell said.