Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

SGA President discusses representation and UTSA’s diverse student body

Eric Trevino

Last week, The Paisano sat down with student body president Zachary Nepote to discover how the Student Government Association (SGA) plans to support the needs and interests of UTSA’s diverse student body. Here is what we learned.

Driven by his desire to give back to the community, Nepote joined SGA in Fall 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I wanted to find a way to improve the experience around me but also get to help other people,” Nepote said. “I was inspired by the chance to improve our college experience and enhance what we already have here, but also speak for those who feel like they’ve been underrepresented.”

When speaking about the university’s unique student body, Nepote stressed the importance of representation within SGA. The senators, who are elected by the student body each semester, represent their college and classification and serve as an advocate for student interests and needs across campus. These senators meet with their respective colleges and other university partners monthly. 

Senators also serve on committees that cover a wide range of issues across campus, including core curriculum, dining, student affairs, sustainability and more. “The committees we serve on deal with all aspects of student life, whether it’s to the academic side or the social side, like in student affairs,” Nepote said.

Nepote further explained that every student at UTSA is considered to be a member of SGA, and he encourages students to attend their biweekly general assemblies so that their voices are heard. The first general assembly will be held in the Harris (2.212) and Travis Room (2.202) on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

“[At UTSA,] being a freshman doesn’t mean that you’re eighteen. Being a sophomore doesn’t mean you’re nineteen. We have non-traditional students, [and] military students. Through SGA’s representation, we’re able to cover a wide variety of different groups,” Nepote said. “With [our general assemblies] being an open forum, [and by] welcoming students to be able to go there and express their concerns, it allows for those needs to be met.”

Nepote described several initiatives that the association has been working on since before his election. On UTSA Giving Day, SGA partnered with Wellbeing Services to provide students with free menstrual hygiene products. Over the summer, they used the funds to purchase several carts full of products to “promote menstrual equity within the Student Union areas.” 

When asked about their efforts to encourage sustainability, Nepote explained that many of these initiatives were derailed back in 2020 with the pandemic. “Now that we’re in the position we’re in now, we are exploring [our options]. We are gauging what students are interested in in terms of sustainability and how we can improve that on campus.”

The Paisano interviewed Nepote back in April after he was elected student body president. In this interview, Nepote discussed his three main goals for the academic year — the student worker visibility initiative, increasing student organization engagement and expanding open education resources. In last week’s interview, we asked for an update on these projects:

 “[SGA] will continue to work with Student Affairs, the Library’s Open Education Resources office and other various university departments to represent the interests and dire needs of our unique student body,” Nepote said, explaining that these projects are ongoing initiatives. “We are excited to share updates regarding our further progress throughout the academic year.”

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About the Contributors
Jessica McLaren
Jessica McLaren, News Editor
Jessica McLaren is a senior digital communications student. She is from Austin, Texas, and she has been working with The Paisano for several years now — first as a staff writer and now as the News Editor. Though she has loved to write for virtually her entire life, Jess only recently discovered her passion for visual design through her studies at UTSA. She values open-mindedness and compassion and believes the media is a powerful tool that can be used to strengthen the forces of humanity if used mindfully. Once she graduates, Jess plans to use her expertise in writing, editing and design to help people better understand themselves and the world around them by creating compelling and engaging communication campaigns as a self-employed writer and designer. When she’s not writing an article or researching for one, you can usually find her reading a book about philosophy with a good cup of coffee.
Eric Trevino
Eric Trevino, Photographer
Eric Trevino is a junior studying communication. After graduation, he intends to attend a trade school and travel abroad afterward. Whenever he isn’t working on assignments for his classes you can usually find him messing with his truck or his cameras. At the Paisano, however, he keeps to his cameras as a photographer, taking pictures of events for the paper.

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