Student Government is the primary way for students to participate in the policy-making process that directly affects their educational and campus experience at the university.

The Shorthorn asked the fall 2021 leadership team a series of questions so students can get to know them.

Their answers are edited for brevity and clarity.

Student Government's Leadership Team explains their roles, goals for school year

Caitlyn Burge, Student Body president, takes a portrait Feb. 5 outside the University Center. 

Caitlyn Burge, student body president and public relations junior and English senior

Q: What is your role at UTA and how influential is it?

A: “I represent the student government and the student body as a whole to the faculty, administration and the UT System. It is as influential as I am involved. Since my role is to represent the student body and what students are looking for in their experience at UTA, the more I am involved with them and their needs, the more influence I can have because I can have all these voices of students backing me when I go into meetings with the administration. So I’m able to carry these concerns with me and say, ‘Hey, here is a problem, this is a need that students have that isn’t being addressed. What can we do together to achieve this?’”

Q: What are your responsibilities in student government?

A: “I meet with UTA administration to make sure that students are represented well and fairly while also trying to partner with faculty, staff and administration to make sure students are getting the best experience possible.”

Q: What are some goals you have for this year?

A: “I am hoping to help revolutionize the advising system here at UTA. I am hoping to make it a smoother process for students and partnering with the appropriate department to make that happen. I’m also hoping that we can achieve trust and communication between the administration and students.”

Student Government's Leadership Team explains their roles, goals for school year

Thomason Clayton, information systems junior and Student Body vice president, pictured Sept. 7 in front of the University Center.

Q: What is your role at UTA and how influential is it?

A: “My job is to let students know that the student government is there for them. We’re there to support them, and their feedback is crucial. I get a chance to talk to the provost and the vice president of Student Affairs. They ask for my input because they take that into consideration when it comes to making decisions.”

Q: What are your responsibilities in student government?

A: “I handle a lot of the internal things in student government. I go out and recruit members when there are vacancies. My part is to make sure that our members are doing what they’re supposed to be doing but also have that engagement and involvement. I oversee the Maverick Discount Program, which includes going out and recruiting vendors to participate in the program.”

Q: What are some goals you have for this year?

A: “To make sure that the morale is up and we have good retention within our members. Another goal is to do a lot of outreaching to our vendors. I want to go out there to partner up with them to provide these discounts to the students. I also want to make sure that our members are engaging with their constituents as well.”

Student Government's Leadership Team explains their roles, goals for school year

Alyssa Spencer, criminology and criminal justice sophomore and Student Body chief of staff, pictured Sept. 6 in front of the University Center.

Q: What is your role at UTA and how influential is it?

A: “I mediate communication between the regular members and the leadership team. I’m the bridge. I’d say it’s about as influential as the other positions. My job is to make sure the members are doing OK.”

Q: What are your responsibilities in student government?

A: “Anywhere from event planning to updating files for student government. I also help the vice president or student body president with whatever they need. I am responsible for picking the chairs for the committee’s in the executive branch. I am the designated leadership team member for them to reach out to with any concerns or needs that they have as members.”

Q: What are some goals you have for this year?

A: “A big goal is to help students remember that we’re still here. With COVID-19, a lot of people have forgotten about organizations and the resources they have available to them. There are a lot of things that we want to do, particularly voter registration is very big with us. So one thing we want to do is figure out which groups on campus might be the least likely to vote, and how we can bridge that gap, and see if we can encourage them to get involved in civic engagement.”

Student Government's Leadership Team explains their roles, goals for school year

Arwa Jafferji, computer science senior and Student Body speaker of the senate, pictured Sept. 7 in front of the University Center.

Q: What is your role at UTA and how influential is it?

A: “I’m in charge of the Legislative Branch, which works with resolutions or anything that needs to be changed around campus. Anyone who wants change can write a resolution. So, if any UTA student needed something, they could approach their respective senator of their college and discuss any issue. It’s pretty influential because people notice a lot of the little things that happen, but they don’t know where it’s coming from.”

Q: What are your responsibilities in student government?

A: “It’s a lot of planning for committee and senate meetings. It also includes communicating with the administration and speaking to my adviser about potential resolution ideas that come up.”

Q: What are some goals you have for this year?

A: “I want to increase student government’s outreach and make students know that student government is an actual organization because even when I joined student government, I wasn’t exactly sure what student government did.”

Student Government's Leadership Team explains their roles, goals for school year

Levi Fortune, real estate junior and Student Body chief justice, pictured Sept. 7 in front of the University Center.

Q: What is your role at UTA and how influential is it?

A: “I am responsible for funding or providing funding for organizations on campus, along with my six justices. That’s pretty fundamental and impacting to the university’s culture.” 

Q: What are your responsibilities in student government?

A: “My responsibilities are the Program Assistance Fund, which is responsible for providing funds to organizations that apply for educational travel or events. I am also responsible for running the student elections, which include positions like ambassadors, senators, student body president and vice president.”

Q: What are some goals you have for this year?

A: “My goals for this semester are to have successful elections and get the best candidates in there. I’m hoping we can have the smoothest and biggest voter turnout. I want as many people as possible to vote.”

@MARILYNSCHONEB1

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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