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

The post SGA Elections should be your priority this week appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

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. 

The post Get involved to politics and take control of the future appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

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

The post Ekstrom Library gets new all-gender bathroom on second floor appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

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.

The post SGA holds special election to fill senator position appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

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

The post Health Science Campus experiences sustainability week for first time appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

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 

The post FancyVille closes with immigration debate appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

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 

The post SGA holds third annual FancyVille event appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

SGA aims high with 2025 plan Friday, Sep 13 2019 

By Byron Hoskinson —

The University of Louisville Student Government Association has created a five-year master plan tying students more directly to campus and its culture. SGA proposes innovative money-saving programs like textbook checkout and scholarship reform.

The 2025 Strategic Development Plan, crafted by last year’s student government members, extends to May 2025. It seeks to continue the development of a campus community that allows students to thrive in their academic, social and community pursuits, according to the SGA’s website.

Student government president Jasper Noble said the plan refines the Student 2020 plan, a decade-long initiative to tackle student-identified university and campus issues.

“We’re looking at where [the 2020 Plan] was successful, what its shortcomings were, what was overlooked in the previous plan that now needs to be put in the forefront,” Noble said. He said SGA had evaluated the plan to see where they could refine some of the good ideas into more specific goals that they wanted to achieve.

He also said that SGA members looked for issues affecting each student during the months-long process of developing the 2025 plan.

Drawing from previous student surveys, the 2025 Plan identifies five key categories for student success: college affordability and accessibility, student facilities, student services, academic enrichment and retention and student engagement.

“You’re able to look at the body of students we have and identify that there are some key categories that affect everybody. And while they may affect everybody differently, they still have a broad role to play in everybody’s lives,” Noble said. “Everybody works with student facilities, everybody works with student services, everybody has to pay tuition.”

The 2025 Plan is also a vehicle for transforming the role of student government. It calls for SGA to change from an association that evaluates problems annually into one that develops solutions as problems arise.

One of the ways SGA is implementing faster evaluation is by addressing rising tuition at the university. They see it as both a student and social issue, stating that when the costs of college are prohibitive, the community as a whole suffers and that higher education should be seen as an investment by all.

The new plan lays out a framework for reducing educational costs, with its efforts focused on reducing the loss of student scholarship, allowing more meal plan options, reducing student fees, increasing fee transparency and implementing a textbook checkout program.

To mitigate the incidence of lost scholarship, SGA has suggested implementing a probationary period or an opportunity to take summer classes before losing a scholarship.

“Most students would agree that one bad semester shouldn’t determine the viability of someone being able to attend an entire term of college,” Noble said.

In the textbook checkout program, SGA plans to partner with the campus store and university libraries to create a program in which students can checkout and return textbooks throughout the semester.

 

 

The post SGA aims high with 2025 plan appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.