Future plans for UAA shuttle service, name of Thanksgiving Break, sports games capacity, and goals discussed at meeting with USUAA

Sean Parnell speaks with USUAA at meeting on Oct. 14. Photo by Matthew Schmitz.

UAA guest speakers met with the Union of Students on Oct. 14 to discuss updates on Seawolf Shuttle service, academic holiday names, and developments in UAA strategic plans.

The first guest speaker, UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell, asked council members to support the decision to extend the UAA 2025 Strategic Plan by two years to 2027. UAA 2025 is an initiative centering around five aspirations of overall improvement for the institution. The initiative was finalized toward the end of 2020 and approved by the University of Alaska Board of Regents on Feb. 25, 2021. 

Around the same time, the board authorized the development of the Alaska Native Success Initiative, which aligns with the second priority of UAA’s 2025 Strategic Plan of cultivating a culture of equity and inclusion by embracing diversity. ANSI is dedicated to improving the representation, participation and success of Alaska natives in the Alaska university system, according to UAA’s ANSI Strategic Plan Executive Summary. Good progress has been made regarding the Alaska Native Success Initiative, said Parnell. 

Image courtesy of UAA.

UAA’s ANSI features three main priorities for the native community with specific goals for each priority. These goals aim to increase native faculty, enrollment and graduation rates, and university resources for the community. 

USUAA advisor Zac Clark announced that applications for a USUAA student arts, activities and entertainment coordinator are still available through the 24th of October, as the position was recently vacated. 

After a meeting with the Director of Athletics, Ryan Swartwood, USUAA was able to increase student capacity at Seawolf hockey games from 60 to 90 students. Students are advised to show up early to secure their spots. They may have to wait if capacity is reached but will not be turned away regardless, said USUAA President Katie Scoggin.

Drivers have been hired and routes have been set for the Seawolf Shuttle Service, said Scoggin. Expected to start on Monday, Oct. 24. is Shift B of the service, prioritizing the afternoon and night and running from 1:00pm to 10:00pm. USUAA is hopeful that the app for the shuttle service will be active by this date as well. 

The assembly then discussed the possibility of renaming Thanksgiving Break to Fall Break on UAA academic calendars. UAS and UAF recently passed a resolution regarding the change to be submitted to the board of regents. The resolution stated the historical trauma of Thanksgiving for some students and staff and the fact that many do not celebrate the holiday as reasons for the switch. USUAA is considering following their decision and sending out a campus-wide survey to collect opinions on renaming the academic holiday.