Filling the Gap
By: Wiley Schatz
The Student Government at The University of Iowa has been putting much of their effort into increasing the student body’s awareness of their activities. With the 21 ordinance being passed, students feel that student life has been affected more this year than it has in a long time and Student Government has been very vocal about the issue in order to
“We have tried to be a presence during the whole 21 ordinance,” Says University of Iowa Student Government President John Rigby, “letting them know we were here for them. In past years when the issue came up it seemed like UISG stayed out of it and by putting our name in there we put our organization into a lot of students minds. Increasing our visibility to the students is something that has been very important for us since we have been in office”
Yet with the efforts of the current UISG administration, many students still feel a disconnect between Student Government and the student body.
“I have never really known anything about Student Government,” says Mac Flack, a junior Environmental Studies major, “They don’t really seem to make an effort to inform students about anything that could affect them.”
“It seems to me that the only time I ever even hear about Student Government is during Student Government Elections,” says Theater Arts major Mike Turczynski, “Its like there is one week where I vote for them and then don’t really ever hear about what it is they actually do.”
Student Government has taken many small actions that they feel previous administrations have failed to do.
“We have tried to keep our website as up to date as possible,” says Rigby, “letting the student know who we are and what we are working on. Also, we have been working with the Daily Iowan; they wrote an article on us and our stance on the 21 ordinance, which his helpful for outreach. We have been sending out a lot more mass emails in the past couple moths than in years past, which is in my mind the most effective way to reach people.”
Something else that Student Government aims to do in order to grab students attention is try to make themselves aware to freshmen as soon come as come to the school by being part of the effort to enhance Freshman Orientation.
“Orientation will be changing next year,” says Rigby, “Its called ‘On Iowa’ and it will require students to move in a couple of days early and help them get used the campus and entire college experience, not just registering for classes like it has been.”
“Ideally Student would use that period to get a time where we can come talk to the students,” says Student Government Vice President Erica Hays, “introduce ourselves and let them know that we are there. That could alleviate some of the gap between Student Government and the student body.”
Another idea that Student Government has been trying to make happen is making an entire week’s wroth of UISG related activities.
“We’ve been discussing for next semester,” says Hays, “having a Student Government Week to step out there and show the different sides and parts of Student Government. We are still not sure how appropriate that would be but it is something our Executive branch is working on.”
“We have been fairly conservative with our budget spending,” says Rigby, “so something that you can expect from us next semester is to maybe introduce some kind of fun initiatives to get students’ attention. One thing we have talked about is doing something like the Pan-Hellenic group does when they give prizes to someone if they are wearing a sorority shirt. I don’t know how we could incorporate that into Student Government, but it could be something to help get the word out on what we do.”
With only a few more moths left in their term Student Government still has hopes to further assert themselves in the student body’s awareness by flirting with the idea of weekly or monthly newsletters and online forums all in the name of building a bridge between the Student government and those they are serving”
“With the ordinance and everything that has gone on,” says Rigby, “I know some students are looking for a leader to turn to and hopefully they can see that in us.”