USG sets collaborative goals at caucus

Speaker of the Senate George Wang addresses a reporter at the first caucus of the semester on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 in the Student Union. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The first caucus of the semester ended with strong, collaborative goals that were unanimously agreed upon by the Undergraduate Student Government Senators.

The meeting took place on Wednesday night in the Student Union. Current USG Senators met to discuss some of the issues UConn students face on a day-to-day basis. Its purpose is to hear the concerns of undergrads in the University of Connecticut, and discuss strategies to help aid these problems.

“The reason we have these caucuses is to promote ideas for the new senators and allow them to feel more welcomed and immersed within the USG senate process,” Parliamentarian Stephanie Goebel said. “It’s intimidating at first, but these meetings are what help us become more cohesive as a student government.”

On one giant sheet of paper the senators narrowed down the five largest issues; buses, USG member policy, pedestrian safety, printing, and statements of position.

Sen. Michael Laporte said that the university should invest in adding crosswalk signals, like those near the Northwest Residence Halls, to ensure the busier areas of campus are safer for pedestrians.

“The amount of times I’ve been almost hit by a car or pedestrians have jumped out behind buses while I’m driving is concerning to me,” Sen. Michael Laporte said.

The senators expressed concerned at the lack of printing availability in dormitories and other public classroom areas. Students can only access public printers in Homer Babbidge Library and a few other locations.

Current USG policy forbids members to be part-time students or to study abroad while they have a yearlong position. Senators brought up the possibility of bringing this issue up later in the semester.

Sen. Dustin Lavoie said USG should focus on statements of positions as a way to increase students’ voices in the broader University Senate.

“Statement of positions is something that the USG senate can vote on to show how the student body feels as a whole on a certain issue at hand,” Lavoie said.

“It stands as actual, tangible evidence we as USG senators can present to the University Senate to prove that students want change on campus.”

Senators praised this idea and agreed that statements of policies are one of the most important practices they possess as a student government.

“It’s our actual voices as students on paper. It’s one of our few, and strongest ways to showcase what our beliefs are as a whole student body. We bring up an issue to students, vote on it as a student senate, and provide it to the University Senate,” said Lavoie after discussion.

Speaker of the Senate George Wang said, “Along with balancing out all internal issues that have been brought up, these caucus’ help us identify issues that truly matter to the student body, which is what we stand for.”


Patrick Carignan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at patrick.carignan@uconn.edu.