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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Student Government adjusts to virtual format, shares goals for remainder of semester

Student+Government+senators+vote+on+an+amendment+to+a+resolution+during+a+regular+meeting%2C+Monday%2C+Sept.+28%2C+2020%2C+over+Zoom.

Student Government senators vote on an amendment to a resolution during a regular meeting, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, over Zoom.

Typically Student Government senators fill the LBJ Teaching Theater on Monday nights, working through legislation it deems important to the student body, but now the governing body is trying to adjust to a virtual landscape.
Student Government began holding its regular weekly meetings at the start of the fall semester, and like many campus organizations, all of its meetings are being held over Zoom. 
Senator At-Large Jacob Cleveland says holding meetings virtually comes with no shortage of challenges, ranging from connection issues to difficulty focusing, but the biggest challenge is the disconnect.
“This year we have a lot of new senators, and nobody really knows anybody,” Cleveland said. “It’s so hard to meet and build that rapport with each other when the closest we can get is over Zoom.”
Senator At-Large Patrick Moloney says the online environment has made it more difficult for newer members to transition into the organization.
“Compared to the in-person environment that we would have in the teaching theater in LBJ, it’s a little confusing sometimes, especially for new people when you’re trying to learn parliamentary procedures and Robert’s Rules of Order,” Moloney said. “Usually there’s the social cues in person. It’s just more conducive for Student Government.”
Some members, like Senator Joseph Reed, feel the online format made meetings less taxing on Student Government members.
“I think it does streamline the whole process down quite a bit, actually,” Reed said. “I’m taking less time out of my day trying to get to school and trying to get to meetings, and the meetings go by quicker now. I think it’s a little bit more organized.”
Despite potential problems with meeting online, Student Government has passed legislation, including a resolution supporting the Texas State Employees Union’s list of demands.
Members of Student Government have additional plans for the current semester, including Senate Parliamentarian Cody DeSalvo, who hopes to revise Texas State’s fee structure to alleviate financial stress placed on students due to COVID-19.
“Tuition and fees are not cheap, and we’re not able to take full advantage of the things that we’re paying for,” DeSalvo said. “My hope is that at the end of the day, we’ll be able to adjust our fee matrix so that students can feel a little bit more money in their pockets, especially if they’re not going to be able to enjoy all the services they might have been able to before [COVID-19].”
Newly-elected Senate leader Quintin Lorenz aims to support students’ mental health by allocating more resources to the counseling center, simplifying the process of setting an appointment.
“When it comes to the severity of someone’s mental health—especially in a time like this when people feel alone—I definitely feel that we should start passing legislation pushing the university to reach out to students instead of students having to reach to the university to get the support that they need,” Lorenz said.
Senator Jordyn Galvan, chairperson of the Environment and Campus Sustainability Committee, wants to address sustainability issues, such as Texas State’s use of plastic and styrofoam. Galvan aims to review the university’s endowments to see if any investments contribute to companies that utilize unethical labor sources or engage in environmentally harmful practices.
“I think the students have a right to know where our university is placing these investments and where we are getting money from and making sure that it’s both ethical and environmentally friendly,” Galvan said.
Other initiatives Student Government members are pursuing include: Placing face masks in all public buildings on campus, installing security cameras in three parking garages and pushing to make Texas State a voter-friendly campus. However, Cleveland says the major obstacle Student Government will have to face is its limited power since most passed legislation is non-binding.
“We can only make recommendations to the university, and if they don’t follow it, they don’t follow it. At that point, the idea would be then [to] pressure the university, either through demonstration or through emails or calls or whatever, but it’s harder to do that now,” Cleveland said.
Student Government meetings, held every Monday at 7 p.m. over Zoom, are open to the public, and students are encouraged to attend and voice their opinions.
“Really hold us as your representatives to account,” DeSalvo said. “Find out who is in Student Government. Email them. This is a really important time for engagement in general—nationally, but locally as well, and for students, locally means Texas State. So come talk to us and see how we can help you with anything you’re facing.”

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