Students are a light to follow in the pursuit for racial and social justice Friday, Jun 5 2020 

By Brandon Cooper–

As University of Louisville administration addresses the racial and social justice issues making headlines, it is critical that they do not forget their greatest resource: students. The administration should focus energy on giving the power to mend injustices to those already in the streets protesting for such.

Student Government Association President Sabrina Collins said “the path forward has to come from students.”

“Our generation has the solutions, it is now up to U of L and universities across the nation to really listen,” Collins said.

As the university moves forward, they must base their actions off of those that are organized, focused and led by students. U of L professor Jason Gainous spoke passionately about the need to emphasize students during conversations relating to racial and social justice issues.

“Our students are the future of our community,” Gainous said. He has attended local protests with his 14-year-old daughter – who was pepper-sprayed and shot at with rubber bullets by police. He said he has seen first-hand the kind of passion and energy young people have and has faith in their ability to lead us through this pursuit for equality.

As a professor of digital politics, Gainous encourages students to continue using social media and other online platforms to organize, seek assistance and share their stories.

Gainous described university actions as a ‘balancing act’ – given the university’s extensive community ties that could be hindered by abrupt action that is not given extensive thought and planning.

At the onset of protests in Louisville over a week ago, actions and voices were faint from the U of L’s administration.

In recent days, Dr. Bendapudi has joined other administrators from the community to speak out against racial injustices. In addition to the administration’s recent statements and public appearances in the community, U of L Health has just announced a nursing scholarship fund in honor of Breonna Taylor. Though both great starting points, real action, policies and innovation must be implemented to enhance equality at the University of Louisville.

Bendapudi’s commitment to a student-centered ‘revolution’ starting right here at U of L is very apparent in her rather consistent communication with university stakeholders. The intricacies of university actions concerning social justice issues further highlight the need for extraordinary student engagement and leadership. When the future leaders of our community and nation speak, it is the responsibility of those currently in such positions to listen and act.

Anthony Taylor, a senior communications major, said he wants to see U of L become much more proactive about social justice going forward, rather than consistently reactive. Taylor believes that U of L has the resources to be on the frontlines of prominent social justice issues that directly impact our communities.

Hanah Jo Thurmond, a recent U of L graduate and attendee of local Black Lives Matter protests, said that the university should reinforce and expand the platforms for people of color to speak out on campus.

How will we, as a Cardinal family, respond to the impacts of these long-endured inequalities?

A critical step moving forward for the university is the implementation of required courses about white privilege and racial diversity for both students and faculty. Such courses could easily be added to the Cardinal Core requirements or implemented as curriculum in the Cardinal Orientation program. For employees, such courses should be added to the current employee orientation practices for all staff and faculty.

We should acknowledge the progress we’ve made thus far while continuing to call for action to implement the changes needed for racial equality and social justice.

U of L’s strength as a research and higher education institute lies in our diversity. With a spotlight on our students, U of L can be a national leader for higher education institutes to follow when addressing issues of inequality.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Survey: U of L students concerned about potential return to campus next fall Thursday, May 28 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

Earlier this month, University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi announced the university plans to return to in-person classes for the fall semester. But one Student Government Association survey is finding that more than half of the 214 responses received in the first two days of its launch are concerned with the potential return.

SGA posted a three question survey to its Twitter on May 16, allowing students to voice their concerns about a potential return. SGA’s Top 4 also posted the survey to their personal social media pages. The questions included in the survey were:

  1. What are your concerns about the fall semester?
  2. What resources do you need to be successful in the fall?
  3. Anything else you want us to know?

A response to any one of the questions would be considered a completed survey.

“Many of the responses expressed concerns about having to make an emergency, mid-semester transition in the fall (similar to the one we did in the spring),” SGA told the Cardinal. “A lot of the feedback expressed concerns about safety, social distancing on campus and safe access to University services.”

The student government cautioned that the survey was conducted over social media and is not a representative sample of the student body.

In an email sent May 18, Academic Vice President Ben Barberie provided College of Business professors with “a few notable early trends from the first question.”

54.39% of the responses included some concern about the safety of a return to campus. 19.30% showed concern about plans relating to online classes. 14.91% included some concern about money or expenses related to an in-person fall semester.

“University faculty, staff, administrators and students have been hard at work behind the scenes deliberating many different potential scenarios that could arise this fall,” SGA said. “Throughout the process, SGA has been careful to make sure student concerns are heard and that any approach to this fall is rooted in equity for all students.”

SGA’s survey is ongoing and will remain open throughout the coming weeks.

“We appreciate [student’s] feedback regarding finances, safety, academics, and extracurricular activities. SGA will continue to share these hopes and concerns with the University administration as we advocate for innovative solutions to a wide variety of student concerns,” SGA said.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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There’s plenty of ways to get involved in campus life Wednesday, Apr 22 2020 

By Zoe Watkins — 

Even after Orientation and Welcome Week, the campus stays vibrant as ever almost every single day. There is no rest to campus life as there are many different things that a student can do to get involved with campus life and take part in the fun.

There’s plenty of social organizations for everyone’s interest

U of L offers many ways for students to be more social from Greek life to Recognized Student Organizations (RSO).

Even though she didn’t like the idea of joining a sorority at first, Junior Akanksha Gupta joined Kappa Delta (KD)after some her older friends pushed her to go through recruitment.

“Looking back, it was definitely the best decision I’ve made in college. I met so many of my best friends and have made connections that I never could’ve made before,” Gupta said.

She said a freshman should join a sorority or fraternity as it helps make them become a better person. KD shaped her into the person she is today as well as helped her grow. Gupta also said she gained life-long friends that have helped her make it through college.

If someone wishes to join a sorority or fraternity, Gupta said registration opens up on May 1.

Besides Greek life, the variety of RSOs offers students a chance to find new interests. Besides new interests, it is also a way to find people who share the same likes which was the case for junior Nicole Anderson when she joined the Tabletop Gaming Club for D&D.

Anderson says joining an RSO is a healthy way to fill downtime.

“You get to relax, share passions, make friends, and you get to learn about new stuff related to your passion,” she said.

Have a voice in our campus government

Make some change to campus through the Student Government Association (SGA), or even bring voice to a specific college since each branch of SGA has their own student council as well freshman council.

Sophomore Alexa Meza joined the Arts & Science Student council her freshman year as she needed a place where she could be herself and do the things that she loved.

“Through SGA, I’ve found some of my best friends and discovered the thing I’m really passionate about improving on campus,” Meza said.

She says what she loves the most about U of L’s student government is how it empowers students to improve areas in campus services or academic polices, solve problems, voice concerns and make change happen.

“The purpose of student government here at U of L, to me, is about improving the quality of life for students that are already here and making sure we give them the opportunity, the resources, and the desire to come back each year until they graduate,” she said.

Give back to the cardinal family

If the two options above aren’t interesting, there is still lots of ways to get involved with campus life especially with volunteering. This part of campus is heavily integrated into the cardinal community as there are plenty of days of service and even the Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) which offers service opportunities.

According louisville.edu, some things that students can do to volunteer is do a day of service such as MLK Day of Service, be a classroom note taker to help students with disabilities, become a Resident Assistant (RA) for campus housing or apply to be a Campus Tour Guide.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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SGA Elections should be your priority this week Monday, Feb 24 2020 

By Maggie Vancampen —

Student Government Association elections are underway and should be on everyone’s radar.

Even though people question what SGA actually does, it really is quite simple. SGA advocates for students at the administrative level and protects student rights.

Our current Student President Jasper Noble, and every president before him, serves on the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees runs the university and Noble serves as a voice for students in making final decisions on issues such as raising tuition.

The current Academic Vice President Sabrina Collins said her position sits on faculty senate and the executive board of faculty senate, committees regarding the Cardinal Core and implementation committees for President Neeli Bendapudi’s strategic plan.

Collins said Executive Vice President Kayla Payne is designed to run the student senate, promote diversity and works with athletics.

Service Vice President Lydia Burns is on committees that have to do with housing, parking and sustainability Collins said.

These are powerful committees that have student voices. They can make a difference.

However, SGA needs to know what students want. And the best way students can have their voices be heard is by voting.

Voter turnout has been historically low; the 2018-2019 school year election only had a 15 percent response rate with 3, 125 participants. Over 3,800 voted the previous year.

SGA hosted a forum for all candidates Feb. 19 so they could talk about what they wanted to improve within the University of Louisville community.

When this story is published, U of L will be in the midst of voting. Voting will end Feb. 26.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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Get involved to politics and take control of the future Sunday, Feb 16 2020 

By Ben Goldberger —

With the Iowa caucus Feb. 3 and the New Hampshire primary election Feb. 11, the presidential race heats up even more. Candidates are increasing their social media presence, continuing their efforts to fundraise and speaking at rallies to gain a strong base before the democratic presidential candidate is selected on June 13.

The presidential election is less than nine months away now, and while that may seem super far away,  it is important that everyone is educated on the candidates as early as possible. 

Many people shy away from politics, not wanting to start a fight with whomever they are speaking to.

But being involved with politics is extremely important for any citizen, especially college age students who will soon go into the real world and deal with the policies put in place by government legislators. 

I think, for anyone, it is important to get informed and involved in any way with politics,” says freshman political science major Ivy Stites.

“Politics are what leads up to the policies that police one’s life. Students should pay attention and fight against any policy that may hinder their success as a student and continue that attentiveness and fight when they leave school,” Stites said.

Politics are the engine that fuels this country. All of the laws and regulations that affect every aspect of life are linked to some level of politics. From speed limits on roads to how much college costs, politicians are the ones making the calls. 

Anyone who has ever taken out a federal loan for anything, student loans for example, are directly affected by the decisions made by government officials. 

This may seem like everything is out of civilians’ control with all the power laying in the hands of government officials. But regular citizens are the ones who control who is able to make those decisions. 

By being involved in politics, people are taking their future into their own hands. Being involved can look different for every person, whether that is just discussing beliefs with others, canvassing for a favorite candidate or researching policies and candidates on the ballot before voting. 

Even something as small as following government officials on social media will go a long way in keeping one up to date with new policies being passed. By following politicians on social media, citizens learn what policies and issues are important to them, therefore allowing the citizens to find a politician that cares about the same issues. 

Downloading an app for a news source is also an easy way to stay up to date with current events around the country and the world. Almost all of the major news sites have mobile apps for phones, such as CNN, Fox News and BBC News. 

Try to find the least biased news site to get the most reliable information. 

Other ways to get involved that include higher time commitments include contacting representatives about issues, volunteering with campaigns to call voters, going door-to-door representing candidates or volunteering at voting centers on election days. 

For those looking to get involved in politics on campus, Stites recommends joining party-affiliated Registered Student Organizations or Student Government Association.

Stites also explained that even simple things like watching the debates are a great way to become politically informed and get involved on a personal level.

Everyone should be involved in politics, no matter how they choose to do so. Government is where the country is molded into the form of America that citizens have to experience every day.

Whether by downloading an app, tuning into the debates or volunteering for campaigns, one is taking a huge step to taking their future, and the future of everyone around them, into their own hands. 

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Ekstrom Library gets new all-gender bathroom on second floor Wednesday, Jan 29 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville Student Government Association (SGA) announced Jan. 15 a new all-gender bathroom on campus. The bathroom is located on the 24-hour side of the second floor of Ekstrom Library.

“The possibility of a gender neutral bathroom in the library first came to our attention in May of 2019,” said SGA president Jasper Noble. “We [Noble and Sabrina Collins] both met with the Dean of the Library to discuss the possible project, and emphasize our desire for it to be placed in the 24-hour wing.”

Ekstrom isn’t the only place on U of L’s campus to have a bathroom like this. Noble said that newer buildings on campus are being built with this need in mind.

With Ekstrom being a central hub on campus, and one that sees a lot of student traffic, this made it an ideal spot. “For a lot of folks, Ekstrom is the most visited place on campus besides housing,” said Noble. “This is a space where students spend hours at a time, and often end up staying there late. Ensuring that every student feels comfortable in the Library is critical to their success, and going to the bathroom shouldn’t stand in the way of that.”

This new bathroom came to fruition because SGA felt the library needed a more accessible space. Dean of the Libraries, Bob Fox, and Dean of Ekstrom Library, Bruce Keisling, also helped make this project a reality.

“Many groups were advocating on behalf of this renovation, but we worked primarily with Dean Fox, and Dean Keisling,” said Noble. “They both supported the project and were able to provide the funding to make it happen. We are thankful for their support on this important project.”

This bathroom won’t be the last one of its kind either. “If other spaces on campus demonstrate that same need, we would try to make the same progress there,” he said.

Noble also said that SGA is happy to use their position to advocate for a space like this on U of L’s campus.

Photo By Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal

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SGA holds special election to fill senator position Thursday, Nov 28 2019 

By Maggie Vancampen — 

The University of Louisville Student Government Association hosted their second special election of the semester via email Nov. 20. The result has yet to be announced.

SGA President Jasper Noble said this isn’t unheard of. When senators realize they aren’t able to fully commit to the position, they step down, and the college then finds another student willing to fill the vacancy.

“It varies from year to year, some years where I’ve been involved there have been more, and there have been fewer,” he said. “This certainly isn’t an unheard of amount of vacancies that needed new students to serve in the senate.”

Noble said any students are able to run for the senate.

Four students ran this special election. They were Luke Moore, Will Randal, Alex Misalack, Delany Henson.

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Health Science Campus experiences sustainability week for first time Friday, Nov 1 2019 

By Byron Hoskinson —

The University of Louisville’s 12th annual Sustainability Week featured over 30 sustainability-related events across the Belknap and Health Science Campuses.  

The week is held each October to raise awareness for environmental issues, promote student engagement in eco-friendly initiatives and showcase career opportunities in sustainability.  The eight-day, multi-location production was the collaborative effort of the university’s Student Government Association, Sustainability Council, Office of the Provost, Dining Services, several RSOs and local nonprofit organizations.   

 It started in 2008 as a single day event, but sustainability week has expanded over the years as the university has made sustainability a central part of its long-term plans, assistant to the provost for sustainability Justin Mog said.  

For the first time, Sustainability Week events spread beyond the Belknap campus to the Health Science Center.  The HSC events were spearheaded by the recently formed HSC Green Team, a group designed to address sustainability concerns related to the health field, Mog said. The events included a series of documentaries, free bike tune-ups and a professional development workshop presented by Mog called “Business as Usual is Killing Us: It’s Time for Institutional Weirding in the Age of Global Climate Weirding.” 

The week included plenty of food for students, kicking off at the Red Barn with the Farm-To-Table Dinner, hosted by the university’s dining services and featuring a five-course meal created with locally-sourced ingredients. It concluded with a “Lunch and Learn” workshop, hosted by the Sustainability Council’s EcoReps program and featuring a free vegetarian lunch.  

The Cardinal Cupboard, a project of SGA’s Engage Lead Serve Board, collected over 1,500 pounds of nonperishable goods for students in a two-day collection blitz held across campus, said Sustainability Council communications intern Henny Ransdell.

Additionally, over $600 was raised for U of L’s Green Fund, which goes towards implementing new campus sustainability initiatives, Mog said.  

Throughout the week, numerous nonprofits and environmentally-focused organizations came to campus to raise awareness and promote jobs in sustainability and renewables.  

Mog was similarly optimistic about graduating students’ prospects in sustainability fields.  

“The opportunities for careers in sustainability have been expanding.  Most universities and many corporations and governments now have a sustainability coordinator or director,” he said.  “There’s been a big boom in interest and it’s encouraging to see.”

Sustainability week ended with some of its initiatives carrying over into Homecoming Weekend.  

“For the Homecoming game, fans should see a new ‘zero-waste approach’ implemented to game days,” Mog said.  He said the approach is an attempt to eliminate all non-recyclables from within the stadium itself, including from vendors and fans.  

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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FancyVille closes with immigration debate Wednesday, Sep 25 2019 

By Parker Malatesta —

The University of Louisville Student Government Association capped off their FancyVille event in the Red Barn on Sept. 17 with a debate between the College Democrats and Republicans.

The forum predominantly focused on immigration, a topic that President Trump widely talks about and discussed at the recent Democratic debates.

Per the American Immigration Council, almost four percent of Kentucky residents are immigrants. Nearly three percent are native-born U.S. citizens who have at least one immigrant parent.

Freshman political science student Ashanti Scott debated for the Democrats. Senior accounting major Evan Wright debated for the Republicans.

Wright discussed common fears such as job loss, and said our country shouldn’t allow in an unlimited amount of migrants. He said he didn’t think it was the United States’ role to take pressure off of other countries and their societal issues.

Scott took the opposite view, saying we shouldn’t set an immigration quota. She discussed the importance in having exposure to new cultures. She also touched on the importance of oversight and criminal background checks of those trying to come into our country.

After opening statements, the moderator allowed for a “crossfire” session in which there were no formal rules.

“We need to open our doors,” Scott said. “Let all immigrants in.” She constructed the point that competition is good, especially in the fight for low-skill work. Scott doesn’t endorse the idea and rhetoric of “America first.”

“I’m for no limit,” she said.

Wright replied by stating that no country allows in an unlimited amount of immigrants.

He also relayed that no current Presidential candidate endorses this idea. Most Democratic Presidential candidates support the idea of accepting 110,000 refugees a year, a number set by the Obama administration in fiscal 2017, per the Washington Post.

“A limited amount of immigrants will help raise wages,” Wright said.

This debate closed out the day for FancyVille, only drawing in a small crowd of about 30 people. In total about 250 students attended the day of events held by SGA.

Photo By Anna Claire / The Louisville Cardinal 

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SGA holds third annual FancyVille event Tuesday, Sep 24 2019 

By Byron Hoskinson–

The University of Louisville’s Student Government Association drew more than 250 students to the Red Barn on Sept. 17 for a day of political debates and pulled pork at the third annual FancyVille event.

SGA Deputy Chief of Staff Ben Barberie said FancyVille is part of a larger initiative to get students engaged in politics both on and off campus. “[SGA’s] goal with FancyVille was to increase student political engagement, so many of the events were tailored around that,” Barberie said.

Such events included an open panel with local representatives, voter registration drives and tables set up for the College Democrats and College Republicans clubs Barberie said. The SGA-coordinated forum and lunch takes its name and structure from the renowned Fancy Farm political picnic, a yearly affair in southeastern Kentucky that attracts high-level politicians to its local venue to discuss current events and eat barbecue.

In true Fancy Farm fashion, SGA brought out big political names to discuss current events and controversies before opening up the floor for students to grab a plate of catered Mark’s Feed Store or Chipotle. The McConnell Center also contributed to the event, handing out pocket Constitutions alongside cupcakes in celebration of Constitution Day.

Congressman John Yarmuth, U.S. Rep. for Kentucky’s third congressional district, spoke for an hour with SGA Director of Government Relations Malcomb Haming about topics ranging from presidential indictments, to his family’s heritage to the necessity of good faith bipartisanship.

Following the break for lunch, the day turned back to politics with a panel led by state and municipal legislators discussing local issues. The panelists included Louisville Metro Council president David James, state senators Morgan McGarvey and Julie Raque Adams, and state Reps. Charles Booker and Jason Nemes.

Barberie said getting political representatives and other public servants on campus is in line with SGA’s goal of promoting student involvement in elections through access. “One of the best roles that SGA can play is increasing engagement with all different types of offices across campus, whether those be political offices or the police department,” he said.

“One of our goals is to remove barriers to communication and make it a lot easier to talk to the people who are making the decisions.”

Students can register to vote, check the status of their registration, and find their precinct locations at https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/ovrweb/govoteky.

Photo By Anna Claire / The Louisville Cardinal 

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