Colton and Mehraz
2018-2019 Executive alliance
Increasing Healthy Eating Options on Campus
Starting in Fall of 2019, the University Unions buildings on campus will include a new food vendor. The vendor chosen by the Health and Wellness Policy Directors, the Student Government Executive Board, and the University Unions was Alpaca Market. Alpaca Market prioritizes healthy eating by replenishing their Alpaca Market vending machines with chef-prepared, local, seasonal options daily. Snacks, meals, and desserts are all included in Alpaca Market’s offering. The options also accommodate dietary restrictions, offering vegetarian and gluten-free choices.
These machines will be open and available to students 24 hours a day, so healthier options for food can be accessed on campus even during those late night study hours. For more information on Alpaca Market, click here.
Additional Reflection Spaces on Campus
“I enter a stairwell in the least frequented part of a building on campus. I set down my backpack, bulky with the weight of the scarf to place over my hair, the sweater to cover my arms and shoulders, and the skirt to wear over my pants. Unfortunately, due to my busy schedule that day and all the books I needed to bring for class, I wasn’t able to bring a prayer mat, so I had to put my forehead on the dirty stairwell floor. This was my reality, at least once or twice a day, before there was a reflection space built in the PCL.”
This story, told by Mehraz Rahman, is not a unique one. Students across campus have struggled to find a comfortable, respectful location on campus to fulfill their quieter needs, like prayer and meditation. As of March 26th 2019, efforts to find and establish a new reflection space finally came to completion. Mehraz Rahman spearheaded this project, one that was near to her heart, along with the Diversity and Inclusion Agency and the rest of the Executive Board. After two years of advocating, writing proposals, legislation, op-eds, and meeting with administrators, the new reflection space was established in ECJ 1.205. For a map of the reflection spaces on campus, click here.
Free Menstrual Products in Unions Buildings
In 2017, the Texas Orange Jacket’s Tap Project helped provide free menstrual products in on-campus restrooms. The Women’s Resource Agency and the Executive Board built on these efforts with Students for Planned Parenthood and the Texas Orange Jackets. Pads and tampons are available in the Union Building and the Student Activity Center (SAC) for free, and they are located in women’s restrooms and gender neutral restrooms. The Texas Unions has agreed to sponsor this initiative for the duration of 2019 as a pilot program. The program will be revised upon its conclusion to determine the best way to permanently provide these products in all restrooms across campus. To read more about the program, visit the article featured on Austin’s local NPR station here.
Expanding Resource Guides for
Making information about on-campus resources more accessible to students was one of the priorities for this Executive Board. The Director of Advocacy worked with the Student Government Policy Directors to compile information relevant to their particular area. On this website, resource guides are available for Mental Health and Sustainability. A map of the three reflection spaces can also be found under the ‘Resources’ tab. The Chief of Staff worked tirelessly with her staff to complete a comprehensive guide to housing on and off campus at UT. To visit the Resources page, click here.
Implementing Mandatory Consent Education in First-Year and Transfer Student Interest Groups
In Fall of 2019, the class of 2023 will be the first to complete a consent education program as part of the curriculum for first year interest groups (FIGS). This training will also be included in the curriculum for transfer students (TRIGS). The Fall 2018 end-of-semester-update read, “This will ensure that nearly all first-year students at UT are better educated about consent and bystander intervention practices through recurring, peer-led discussions.”
Expanding 24-Hour Study Spaces
At the end of the 2018 election season, Colton and Mehraz’s platform point emphasizing the need for more study spaces on campus caught the attention of the SAC Events team. Hearing that this was a prominent issue for students inspired the SAC Events team, including administrators Dan Brisley and Cooper Roe, to make a change. Now, every room in the SAC is available during Dead Days and the final exam period.
Transfer Student Inclusion in the Longhorn Legislative Aides Program
As part of an ongoing initiative to create more access and opportunities for transfer students on campus, this platform point was an early priority of the Executive Board. From now on, transfer students are eligible to apply for the Longhorn Legislative Aide program (LLA). The LLA program is a leadership development and mentorship program for first year students.
Connect Students to Student Government:
So often, student's great ideas on campus go unnoticed. Unaccomplished. Unfinished.
What if we told you there was a way to change that?
SG Connect is a new platform developed jointly by the Executive Board and the SG Assembly that is aimed at connecting students to members of Student Government. Via a form on Qualtrics, students can share all of the information about their initiative that they have. Whether students have it all worked out or whether they just think something could be a little bit better, SG Connect is built for sharing those ideas. With this information, students will be connected to other members of SG (assembly members, agency directors, policy directors, and the exec board) who have the resources and knowledge to assist them with their initiatives. To fill out an SG Connect submission, click here.
Increasing Student Civic Engagement:
Campus-Wide Voter Registration Guide
During the 2018 midterm election period, the Executive Board coordinated a campus-wide effort to increase civic engagement in students. The most prominent achievement was establishing a new polling location on campus at the Perry Castaneda Library (PCL). The Executive Board collectively registered over 500+ students to vote, and the Hook the Vote agency planned multiple Civic Engagement Town Halls. Members of the executive staff held voter registration drives in the SG office, tabled for two weeks registering students, visited on-campus organization meetings and met students on campus to register them just about anywhere.