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More transparency coming to USG

USG begins enforcement of mandatory office hours for senators to reach out to student body

By Kathleen McWilliams
On February 19, 2014

  • Ed Courchaine answers questions at Wednesday’s USG meeting. This week’s meeting focused on transparency for the student body in relation to USG. In order to increase transparency, senators will have mandatory office hours. MARGAUX ANCELl/The Daily Campus

The Undergraduate Student Government passed legislation last session that made weekly office hours mandatory for senators. At this week's meeting the group had an informal discussion on how to implement these changes and effectively use the prescribed time to reach as many constituents as possible.
Senator Rachel Conboy was the first to speak up and said that even if the senate didn't implement a plan for senators, just being in the office would be a step in the right direction.
"Well I think even if we don't have a set plan for senators that just being in the office is good. They [senators] will actually get to meet people and see how funding affects student groups," Conboy said. "It'll make it more of an open environment. As much as I like doing my homework there that isn't what the office is for."
Senator Christian Caceres agreed with Conboy and noted that the office hours will allow for more students to understand the intricacies of USG and see where their money is going.
"It'll mean more transparency for USG," Caceres said.
The introspective session aimed to dig deeper into how the senators can reach out to students and better serve their purpose on campus. However, as Senator Kevin Alvarez said, part of the battle is getting students informed on what USG does and how it can help students.
"One of our biggest problems is that people don't know what we do and don't know we're an avenue to the administration," Alvarez said, proposing more social media as a better way to get students on the same page a USG.
USG President Ed Courchaine announced that the group's new website will launch soon and will be a great improvement from the current site.
"Our website, if you haven't been to the new under construction website, do it. When it launches, which I heard it will be very soon, it will be very helpful," Courchaine said.
After comments from the senators, Senate Speaker Shiv Gandhi, brought up ideas that could transform USG's reach.
Gandhi proposed something along the lines of "What Do You Want Wednesdays" where senators would canvass the campus and speak to students as they walk to class or eat their meals.
"It can be going to a dining hall, or riding the buses for an hour, where we can interact with our constituents. This one hour is an hour for you to be focused on USG work and our primary focus should be our constituents," Gandhi said.
Gandhi announced that the group has two weeks until the office hours go live and that senators should think creatively about how to connect with their constituents.

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