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 prepares for Homecoming and discusses student affairs

SGA+prepares+for+Homecoming+and+discusses+student+affairs
Illustration courtesy of Student Government Association at UTSA

UTSA’s Student Government Association (SGA) gathered for the fifth time this semester to discuss the upcoming homecoming week, address various student concerns and deal with internal affairs. 

On Oct. 19, SGA held a student general assembly to cover topics relating to school spirit and student issues. Toward the beginning of the meeting, President Zachary Nepote encouraged members to get involved in their college. Nepote also called for student workers to share their input with SGA, and for senators to advocate for free textbooks in association with open educational resources. The call to action was intended to motivate members to help the SGA reach its goal of serving the student body. 

The executive board proceeded to discuss events for Homecoming 2023, which will take place from Oct. 21 to Oct. 28. Events mentioned include Homecoming Blitz and Rowdy Prize Cab on Oct. 24 at the Downtown Campus, Spirit of the Roadrunner and the proposed athletic fee increase voting on Oct. 25, Rowdy Prize Cab at the Main Campus on Oct. 26, BestFest with special guest Waka Flocka Flame on Oct. 27 and more. The full list of events is available at utsa.edu/homecoming/events.html

Speaker of the Senate Karli Robertson held an informal vote on a $200 donation from the SGA budget to Family Services’ Adopt-a-Family program, which would provide gifts to children and their families this upcoming holiday season. Another informal vote was held on interest in a self-defense course targeted to senators from UTSA PD. Both ideas received positive support. Graduate senior Madeline Snyder was then awarded senator of the month.

The various committees of SGA reported on what they are currently working on. Chair of Academic Affairs Maribel Martinez spoke to Academic Innovation on implementing and utilizing Canvas in classes, as teaching assistants and graduate students have trouble navigating between the separate apps for students and professors. There was also talk of educating faculty on artificial intelligence and plagiarism.

Chair of Business Affairs Daniel Rounds was concerned about the lack of consistency and usability of gift cards at restaurants on campus, such as Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. 

Rounds also clarified the function of the Swipe Out Hunger program, explaining that donated meal swipes are doubled and converted to money that is given to the Whataburger Resource Room. The program benefits greatly from students with unlimited meal swipes, as they are “losing nothing.” Students can donate meals until Oct. 31. 

In relation to new business, Financial Affairs nominee Paul Gonzalez answered questions from the assembly on business engagement and goals and duties pertinent to the position. 

Gonzalez brought up the idea of an emergency fund: “Let’s say a hurricane crashes into us, we’re negatively affected. Is there a fund in there that’s gonna help the students or SGA get back on its feet in case of drastic measures?” After a short deliberation period, Paul Gonzalez was confirmed with a position in the Financial Affairs committee.

Following this confirmation, Ethan La Borde was sworn in as senator for the College of Business, Nathan Strasser for the Klesse College of Engineering, Arynei Nance and Chelsea Montemayor for the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and Belicia Vasquez for Junior Classification. All the senators broke out for 15 minutes to identify and raise needs pertaining to their constituency. 

The freshmen cohort found a lack of inclusion and community, particularly for first-gen and non-San Antonio natives, and access to expensive textbooks as major issues. The speaker for the sophomores found no urgent issues, however, they noted the benefits of more career materials to prepare for junior year. In turn, juniors requested more resources and awareness for internships other than the Career Center and Handshake. Seniors felt blindsided by the graduation process and commented on the possibility of a seminar or workshop integrated into the curriculum to prepare for post-graduation. Graduate representatives felt that many graduate students are unaware that SGA represents them as well, and that graduate events hardly get any advertisement.

Finally, representatives for various colleges brought up their concerns. The College of Business spoke about the expansion of economic electives, growth and possibly moving the entire school downtown. The College of Engineering was concerned about internal disconnect and animosity between majors, and external disconnect from the rest of UTSA. COLFA addressed the internship process and how online classes were antithetical to learning and fostering relationships with peers, and the College of Science requested more consistency across labs from TAs and the professors who oversee the labs.

The meeting concluded with a summary of topics covered and final mentions. Conversations will continue at their next general assembly meeting on Nov. 2 at 5:30 PM in the Harris and Travis Room in the H-E-B Student Union (2.202 and 2.212). 

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Faith Kouadio, Staff Writer

Faith (she/her) is a public health major with a minor in information systems. Despite choosing to pursue studies in these specific fields, she enjoys writing and communications and hopes to incorporate them as a key part of her career. She believes in an increasingly information-heavy world, everyone has a duty to responsibly disseminate information – contributing to the Paisano is her small way of accomplishing this.

If you ask Faith what movie she saw last night, she will have a new answer every time. Other than watching movies, she enjoys listening to and collecting music and traveling. Having grown up in the Toronto region, Texas is one stop from the many places she has called home. After her anticipated graduation in Spring 2024, she’s excited to see where life takes her next.

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