Student government hosts candidate forum ahead of ongoing election Monday, Feb 24 2020 

–By Madelin Shelton

The Student Government Association hosted a forum for the “Top 4” candidates Feb. 19 ahead of SGA elections.

Candidates introduced themselves, answered questions from current Top 4 officers and the audience, and gave closing statements.

The Top 4 positions are: Student Body President, Executive Vice President, Executive Services Vice President and Academic Vice President.

Student Body President

This office deals with university-wide issues and administration.

The first candidate, Brandon McClain, is the current director of outreach for SGA and founded the fourth branch of SGA, the Student Organization Advisory Board.

McClain advocated for altering the meal plan system at the university to better accommodate students at affiliated properties and to better serve students by creating a housing cheat sheet for affiliated and unaffiliated properties.

This cheat sheet would allow students to comparatively look at information about rent and amenities for the various properties on and close to campus.

McClain also would like to have recognized student organizations become official members of SGA, wherein they would be required to attend one senate meeting every year or two.

Academic Vice President Sabrina Collins is also running for president. Collins wants to create more transparency in SGA. She also wants to implement an SGA Cares hotline, where students could submit questions or request advice for navigating university life.

Collins said she would also allocate more funds to the PEACC Center due to increasing demand and advocate against hidden student fees.

Executive Vice President

The person elected to this office will be president of the student senate, promote diversity initiatives and work closely with the athletics department.

Candidate Joenima Wani said she was qualified for the position through her experience holding meetings for service committees and serving as Assistant Services Vice President.

Wani said she will make more funding available to the PEACC Center and the Counseling Center. She also wants to provide more support to The Ville’ns, a registered student organization on campus that seeks to create, reinforce and enhance the fan experience of Cardinal Athletics.

Lexi Raikes is the other executive vice president candidate. She said her work as appropriations committee chair for SGA Senate and her diversity initiatives qualify her for the job.

Raikes said she helped add a diversity committee to SGA  and is getting a more diverse group of people involved in SGA.

She said she would create more avenues of involvement in SGA, including creating a mentorship program for people from diverse backgrounds and elevating student voices that often get left out.

Service Vice President

This position focuses on working with student services, including housing, safety, dining and construction.

Candidate Henny Ransdell, executive director of the Engage Lead Serve Board, described herself in that role as working towards the principles of “sustainability, affordability and inclusivity.”

Ransdell said she would seek to accomplish these goals through elevating student voices. She has advocated designating the bathrooms in new residence halls safe for transgender students, encouraged university administration to not increase tuition as a first resort and prioritized student voices in the construction of the new Cultural Center.

Savannah Fairfield is on the ballot for services vice president but was not at the forum.

Academic Vice President

This officer works directly with deans and faculty.

Lone candidate Ben Barberie currently serves as the deputy chief of staff for the SGA Executive Cabinet. Barberie emphasized retention of students and proposed adding intervention points between students’ first and second years, as well as between their second and third years.

 He said the university could use this point to “provide resources to students who most need them.” He also highlighted the need for leveraging more community partnerships, like with the UPS. He also advocates for making college more affordable, specifically through lowering the cost of online classes for full-time students.

Ballots for the SGA candidates were sent to students through their UofL emails, and voting ends Feb. 26.

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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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