“In the four years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen the room this full,” said USG President Taylor Swift while addressing the audience at last week’s student government senate meeting.
Sixteen new members of USG were sworn in on Thursday, Sept. 24.
“USG has every position full for I think the first time in two and a half years,” Swift said. “You all have a wonderful opportunity to make a difference on this campus.”
USG has had some big changes thrown its way in the last few months.
USG lost its faculty advisor as a result of the UA administration’s summer cuts, which Swift described as a “difficult situation.” He said USG’s new faculty advisor, Anne Bruno, has “filled in wonderfully.” Bruno is also director of the Student Union.
Bethany Pierce, senate chair of USG, agreed, saying “The transition was a lot smoother than I thought it would have been.”
Pierce’s role within USG is to lead the legislative branch, schedule speakers, and do administrative work for the senators. She said USG will be doing fewer surveys this semester than it did in previous semesters, but it is striving to make the surveys that it does send out to the student body “deeper and more powerful.”
Garrett Scherba, chief justice of USG’s judicial branch, said he deals mostly with parking appeals. This branch also reviews student organization grievances and plans USG presidential and vice presidential debates.
Scherba has been a justice for three years and is beginning his second year as chief justice. He added that the three new members in the judicial branch are “well-qualified” for the positions.
The executive branch, led by Swift, coordinates USG and University events, distributes funds to student organizations, and handles USG communications.
Each of the leaders seemed to have similar goals for the future of USG. Pierce’s goal for USG this year is to represent students well and “get to the core of what’s important to [them].” Swift said his goal this semester is to increase transparency through communication.
To communicate with UA students, Swift said that USG uses popular social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, as well as its web page. Swift thinks social media is a relevant way to communicate with college students.
“We actually gained 400 followers in the past five months,” Swift said about USG’s Twitter profile, noting that the number of followers has tripled in the last five months.
Swift added, “We’re gonna live-snap and live-tweet during the Town Hall [meeting].”
Pierce said USG will become more involved with upcoming events like the Town Hall Meeting, Big Idea Day, and Make a Difference Day to “make sure we’re the best representatives we can be.”