Students Vote to Change Student Governance
As part of a liberal arts education, students hone their leadership skills, flex their budgeting muscles and learn goodwill through conflict resolution in a new student-shared governance process.
Guided by Student Affairs, representatives from student clubs and organizations met throughout the fall semester to review their organization structure. In addition, the budgeting and allocation process became an important focal point.
“The students came together with the Student Government Association (SGA) and agreed that a new student organization structure is needed where more students have a voice, diversity is more clearly recognized and the budgeting process better reflects fiscal needs for clubs and organizations,” Amanda Villaneuva, assistant dean of students, said. “The budget needs to match the way UST operates today.”
This constitutional convention researched how other institutions structure their allocations process and familiarized themselves with the Call Toward Tomorrow Strategic Plan. After identifying the needs of the students, they developed a proposal.
They held information sessions and then put up the proposal to the student body for a vote.
Independent Treasury Board Formed
One of the biggest changes from this reconstruction is the transparent usage of funding. By reducing stipends so that more of the funds go toward student initiatives. Additionally, an independent Treasury Board will now manage the funds and produce an annual report on how budgets were spent that year.
Raising Diversity Awareness
The Diversity and Inclusion Organization (DIO) will back awareness initiatives such as Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month.
“UST does not have a diversity office,” Villanueva said. “By creating a DIO, it enhances the momentum and the ability for staff to be the advisors of the organization to help it run smoothly. Before DIO, diversity events were sporadic and ran the risk of going extinct when the students who championed those events graduated. Now, the students will have institutional leadership and funding to host recurring diversity events year after year”
Student Leaders Get Involved
Going forward, the Student Body President will be more involved with campus initiatives such as orientation, Showcase Saturdays. The Student Body President will interface with the University administration. The Student Government President runs the senate, which includes representatives from each of the classes.
Electing New Student Leaders
With the fall vote complete, a new constitution is available for review here. Spring elections will include student governance positions such as:
- Student Body President
- VP of Senate
- VP of Diversity and Inclusion Organization
- VP of Campus Activities Board
- VP of Campus Initiatives
- VP of Treasury
- Senator positions which will now include graduate senators
“It’s an exciting time to be at UST,” Villanueva said. “The students that come in and take on these leadership roles will have the opportunity to make it their own and leave their signature on these initiatives.”