As the E-Days ore cart pull reached its destination at the capitol building in Denver on April 1st, the results of the Undergraduate Student Government elections for the 2016-2017 president and vice president were announced. Junior John Paz will replace Dave Gabrielson as student body president, and freshman Sevy Swift will be the new student body vice president.
Gabrielson, a senior, served as student body president for the 2015-2016 school year. One of the goals of his administration was to make communication across campus more cohesive.
“There was a lot more communication between administration, ourselves, and the rest of the student population,” said Gabrielson. “We’ve been able to shed a bit more light on a handful of things, and be in touch with other clubs and organizations on campus and shed light on what they bring to us and what we bring to them.” Gabrielson gave key advice for the new campus leaders as they begin to plan for the next academic year.
“Give people direction while still allowing them freedom,” he stated. “Lead how you want to lead.”
Both Paz and Swift have leadership experience with their current positions in USG. Paz is the currently serving at-large to the institution and Swift is currently a freshman class representative. They hope to use their experience with USG to foster a stronger student voice and safer environment throughout campus.
“We really want to change what USG is,” stated Swift. “This year we didn’t accomplish as much as we wanted to, and one of our primary goals is to get campus to know what USG is.”
Strengthening campus communication is a priority for Paz and Swift in the coming 2016-2017 school year, especially between students, administration, and faculty. The two also find that their shared experiences will help to create a bridge between the older and younger student populations.
“I’ll be a senior and he’ll be a sophomore, but we’ll both have different views,” stated Paz. “We’ll be able to bring those to the table when we’re making decisions with different sides of the population.”
Paz also plans to foster communication by increasing awareness of USG activities through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and even Daily Blast emails. He also hopes to involve members of USG in communicating directly with administration and faculty over issues they address. This way, faculty and staff know what students wish for the campus through USG.
“We hope to realize that what we want to happen is actually happening on campus,” stated Paz.
Paz and Swift are also concerned about addressing issues of safety across campus. As communication improves with student forums, the issue of safety has come to the forefront of the campus discussion.
“They brought this air of not feeling safe on campus,” said Paz. “We definitely want to address it and move forward with it.”
Students’ voices over safety concerns have inspired USG to create a campus-wide safety walk event on May 2nd. It will take place at dusk to examine issues of poor campus lighting, especially near the Clear Creek Athletics Complex, Mines Park, and the library.
“We want to make sure that students have their voices heard,” said Paz. “It’s the most important part of our administration.”
As the USG members transition, past members reflect upon their time leading campus.
“I wish I could have done more,” stated Gabrielson. “One thing I wish I could have learned faster was how to give people direction while still allowing them freedom.”