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20 October 2010

SG shows its face

Senators cheer for the newest member of the senate at Wednesday's meeting. Usually the senate meetings take place in the University Center ballrooms, but the Oct 20 meeting was held on the Hecht-Stanford bridge. Lindsay Brown//Photo Editor

Passing bills in front of the Hecht-Stanford dorms, talking to students about legal aid while eating free Chick-fil-A on the UC Patio and preparing for the weekend’s football game on the Rock were all part of Student Government (SG) Awareness Week.

This year, the week was conducted differently than before. SG has made a bigger effort to reach out to students as directly as possible.

“We want to raise awareness about what Student Government does: who we are and what we’re doing,” SG Press Secretary Ryan Aquilina said.

The week kicked off on Monday with SG members helping to promote the Council for Democracy debate that took place in the UC Lower Lounge.

Other events included a Category 5 hosted pep rally for this Saturday’s football game against the University of North Carolina, a forum with the judicial branch regarding free legal aid for students and an open Senate meeting on the Hecht-Stanford bridge.

“Hosting Senate outside is probably the event I’m the most excited about,” said Aaron Esman, speaker of the Senate. “It lets people see what we do behind closed doors. Although our Senate meetings are open to students not many people know about them so they don’t come.”

The week will conclude with a free breakfast social Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on the Rock and a free ICEE coupon giveaway on the Hecht-Stanford bridge at 5:30 p.m.

“We’re trying to get out of the office and open ourselves to the student body instead of having students come to us,” Aquilina said.

A priority for this administration has been using student feedback to improve their services and generate ideas for the future. SG has used the idea generator on their Web site as well as lunches at the Rathskeller with President Christina Farmer to gather student input. A priority for this week has been hearing student’s opinions on SG initiatives.

“Student Government is a unique organization on campus,” Aquilina said. “We’re a group that works for everyone instead of one specific section of the school, so we want to make sure its working best for the students.”

Students attending the events have noticed an improvement in communication between SG and students in the past semester.

“I didn’t see too much from student government last semester,” said sophomore Jiahao Yuan, a sophomore majoring in management. “This year there is more going on. At least we get to talk to them more.”

Senior Reem Habash, a broadcast journalism and international studies major, also believes that SG has made itself more available to students than before.

“This is my fourth year at UM and I’ve seen a huge difference,” Habash said. “You see the faces of who’s involved and you know the people who are making a difference in so many different aspects of student life.”

Alexandra Leon may be contacted at aleon@themiamihurricane.com.