Do you know your student government? An elected group of students control about $30 million of student fees and each year guide funding for the major centers on campus and student groups. Yet many students still know surprisingly little about CU’s student government, CUSG.
CUSG is comprised of Tri-Executive officers and a legislative council made up of representatives who are elected by their respective schools at CU, such as the Leeds School of Business, to represent the interests of the students in each school. CUSG serves as a liaison between students and CU administrators.
Last year’s representatives set increasing student participation among its priorities and, as a result, saw an increase in voter turnout.
CUSG, formerly known as UCSU, underwent a face-lift after last year’s election in April and passed legislation to change the organization’s name to CUSG.
Despite higher voter numbers, Rodrigo Gonzalez, a 22-year-old senior Chemical and Biological Engineering major and current CUSG Representative at Large, says that CUSG will continue to push for student awareness and participation in student government activities.
“We will always be continuing to outreach to the students and try to put our name out there and let people know exactly what we do,” Gonzalez said.
Many students say that even though CUSG has set outreach to students as a major goal, they still are unaware about what the student government does on campus.
“I feel like there are a lot of ads but I don’t hear about what they do,” said Meghan Tracey, a 19-year-old sophomore open-option major.
And keeping students involved in student government on campus may only be half the challenge. Alicia Burdick, a 20-year-old junior psychology major, said she quickly lost interest in the happenings of student government while at CU.
“I was more interested when I was a freshman,” Burdick said. “I don’t pay attention anymore; I don’t know much about CUSG.”
CUSG controls approximately $30 million in student funds; the funds are allocated by the elected members to student groups, clubs and the various cost centers across campus including Wardenburg Health Center, the Recreation Center and the UMC.
CUSG will also be experiencing some firsts this semester including the election of the first-ever Representative at Large representing graduate students.
Carly Robinson, a 24-year-old graduate student in the Chemistry Department, elected to this position, said she has set her sights on working towards increasing the transparency of how CUSG operates and how students can get access to CUSG’s services.
“A major goal for CUSG is being a lot more open and accountable for exactly what the student government is trying to do,” Robinson said. “We’re trying to make it easier for students to get info about student government.”
With recent budget cuts, Robinson says student fee allocations from CUSG are all the more vital for the various student groups and campus cost centers.
“We need to work to find efficiencies within our cost centers to keep student fees low,” she said. “And it would be amazing if we could lower student fees.”
With the hopes of increasing funding for student groups, last year’s Legislative Council passed legislation to revise the funding cycle so student groups can apply for funding two times yearly.
“I would like for there to be a place on the website for student groups to go for funding,” Robinson said.
Another goal for CUSG this year mirrors a priority among citizens and students in Boulder to push for less waste and more green living.
“We’re working on legislation that will continue our goals to be waste-free and paperless as much as possible,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez, who served as financial board chair last year, said that he hopes to spearhead legislation that will aim to streamline paperwork for CUSG.
“I want to get rid of a lot of paper applications and paper contracts and put them all online,” Gonzalez said. “It is more efficient for student groups to have their apps read and attended to.”
For more information on student government at CU visit CUSG’s website.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Lauren Knobbe at Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org.