Student government prepares for new semester

Student government at the University of Alaska Anchorage will be operating with a stronger mandate than ever before after an unprecedented voter turnout of 1067 people in the previous election. That’s almost three times the turnout the year before.

“The high turnout last year really increased our credibility with the administration,” said student body president David Parks.

The UAA Union of Students will focus this year on improving the quality of student life and the livability of the campus, according to the agenda Parks described. For Parks that means offering students more on-campus opportunities.

“For me, in just two years, the positive changes like the library, parking garage, shuttle – even the new campus center desk have made a difference in my life as far as living in a community on campus,” Parks said. “We’re also starting to see a lot of clubs, fraternities and sororities grow and create a more sociable, livable campus.”

Hoping to continue that trend, Parks has put near the top of his list an on-campus recycling program—something UAA has never had. Last year, USUAA created a new paid student position—campus recycling director. The new director will begin developing a recycling program this year.

Students may also soon be seeing more money in their pockets if USUAA is successful in its second big project—developing a citywide student discount program.

“That’s one of our main projects—students would show their Wolfcards and get discounts,” Parks said. He pointed to Alyeska as one place such a program already exists.

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This year’s Assembly brings a lot of experience and energy to student government, featuring eight incumbents and some high-profile members.

Two senators returning this year are last year’s national speech and debate champions Ben Garcia and Chris Richter.

The new Vice President Jake Gondek served as president of the Resident Housing Association last year and was considered for a national award for outstanding service in that position.

Student government will begin meeting the a few weeks into the fall semester.


What is USUAA?

Guess what? These people are using your money and making decisions that affect your academic career!

The Union of Students is the University of Alaska Anchorage student government. It exists to promote student rights and educational needs, serve as a forum for student ideas and govern student life.

USUAA is the official voice for students to UAA administration and the UA Board of Regents. The assembly is made up of 19 senators, who are elected at large from the UAA student population. There are also two representatives

The duties of the assembly are to create legislation on behalf of students, such as deciding where money is allocated and forming new positions. The senators also work to lobby the state Legislature for more state funding.

There are standing committees senators serve on. For example, there are rules, academic affairs and legislative affairs committees. The committees are responsible for student forums and activities.

Student government also offers leadership scholarships and legal services.

The assembly meets once a week at a regular time and place. The agenda is posted a few days before the meeting.

The student government can establish student fees and spend the student government fee, which is $12. Also under USUAA are student media and Concert Board.

The Media Board is independent of the student government, but is still under its umbrella because on-campus media uses student fees. The board acts in an advisory position for the student newspaper and radio station. The board has five members.

The Concert Board oversees entertainment programs for students. It puts on concerts and events during the year. There are five members.

Club Council is also under student government. The council represents student clubs and organizations on campus.