Undergraduate Student Senate

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Although the first semester of the 2016-17 school year is quickly coming to an end, work and progress in the Undergraduate Student Senate (USS) is still in full swing as members from both the executive board and full senate wrap up last minute projects and begin to prepare for the coming semester. “It has been a great year so far,” Steve Klein, USS advisor and director of the University Center and Student Activities said. “We have a very dynamic group of people, both on the executive board and entire senate.” The USS, as a whole, meets every week for hour-long meetings where student representatives from all areas of the campus come together and act as a voice for the students. 
Representatives on the Senate have the power to vote at table meetings on a variety of different matters and are also charged with joining and working on one of the senate committees, getting to choose between working with finance, campus betterment, leadership or communications. New to the USS this semester has been the slight change in representation, with the removal of the two off-campus student representative positions and addition of three new student representative positions, including a Center for Gender Equity Representative, Sustainability Representative and Na Haumana O Hawai’i Representative. 
Klein explained that these new positions have helped bring voices from more commonly underrepresented areas on campus to the USS table. Klein also said there was still representation for the students living off campus as the Senate has a healthy mix of students who live both on and off campus. “I think we are meeting our goals,” USS president and senior Mallory Hiefield said. “Not only are we carrying out traditions from past years, we are also creating new traditions and doing a lot more.”
Although it can be difficult to see what projects and initiatives the USS is directly responsible for helping start or bring to fruition, some of their major accomplishments this year have been the installation of charging stations in the University Center (UC), the hanging of digital signage boards in both the library and Scott Hall, the creation of the Multicultural Center, assisting in the startup of the Food Pantry, plans to start a Textbook Exchange Program, the revival of the Meal Exchange Program and assisting in the start of the “Red Den,” an athletics spectators club. The USS has also played crucial roles in bringing a number of speakers to campus and helping start and fund new clubs. 
For both Klein and Hiefield, the goal for next semester with the USS is to continue building community and communications. Already in the planning for the spring semester is a chalkboard calendar that will be located in the UC and that students can add events to and the launch of an Urban Pursuits Program that will organize fun and exciting trips into Portland for students. The USS is also preparing to relaunch the edited and improved “Boxer Mobile” app at the spring semester club fair, after it received less than favorable reviews last year at its initial launch. Junior Katie Lightcap, USS vice president of Communications, and sophomore Charlie Davis have been working on the “Boxer Mobile” app throughout the year in an attempt to make it a tool for both students and faculty that will actually be of use.
“We wanted the app to be more interactive,” Lightcap said. “It now has Moodle so students can check their grades, live feeds of sporting events, Twitter and other social media platforms, things people our age actually focus on.” Both Lightcap and Davis plan to continue working on and revising the app even after its launch. They are hoping to eventually make it possible for students to register for classes through the app. “I think Senate is going really well,” Hiefield said. “I am really pleased with this semester and what we have been able to accomplish and I am looking forward to next semester.”

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