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 presents campus-oriented agenda

Jake Mireles

On Thursday, Feb. 1, Student Government Association (SGA) President Zachary Nepote delivered remarks on the past achievements of SGA and his administration’s future goals during the Spring 2024 State of the Student Body Address. 

To preface the organization’s more recent accomplishments and future goals, Nepote started the address by highlighting SGA’s role on campus and some of its notable achievements. 

“Each semester, [SGA hosts] elections for class senators and college senators. These senators serve on committees that directly impact you in academic affairs, business affairs, student affairs, sustainability [affairs] and downtown affairs. They provide feedback and advocate for the needs of our students,” Neptote stated. 

When commenting on the past achievements of SGA, Nepote stated that SGA had facilitated the vote for the university mascot in 1977, advocated for the construction of a university center in 1979, helped sponsor the very first Fiesta UTSA in 1980 and advocated for installing the roadrunner statue in the Sombrilla in 2010. 

“Thus, for almost five decades, students here at UTSA [have had] a group to fight for their needs,” Nepote stated.  

Speaking on the current goals of SGA, Nepote stressed the importance of increasing access to free textbooks through the Open Education Resources initiative. 

“Since March [of] 2023, our executive team, directors and senators have heard countless stories about how unaffordable starting each semester is. We have been working tirelessly with UTSA administration to reduce attendance costs through expanding Open Education Resources,” Nepote stated. 

Open Education Resources are free textbooks curated by UTSA professors that feature more relevant and specialized information about the courses students will take at the university. This allows the professors to create more helpful informational guides for their courses. 

Nepote then moved on to SGA’s second goal for the year: improving job training and career readiness opportunities for student workers at UTSA, increasing their marketability and success in the job market. 

“Our student workers are working-class citizens, and their success post-graduation is important,” Nepote stated. 

Nepote then spoke on the recent progress that SGA had accomplished regarding increasing student worker wages. 

“SGA was able to provide critical feedback to UTSA leadership regarding student wages, and we are excited to see the rollout of student worker raises from President Eighmy’s office,” Nepote stated. 

Nepote then spoke on SGA’s achievements during the Fall 2023 semester. This included the Rowdy Prize Cab, the assessment of facilities and student experiences at UTSA’s Downtown Campus, the SGA scantron giveaway and the hosting of a mental health first aid seminar.

Additionally, Nepote commented on the success of SGA’s Leaderfund. Leaderfund is designed to allow SGA to reimburse registered student organizations financially for events, operations and supplies. Registered student organizations can receive up to $750 per academic school year, according to SGA’s website. 

“Hosting events and outreach should not deter a student organization from operating. We want to help you,” Nepote stated.

Registered student organizations can apply for reimbursement through SGA’s RowdyLink page. 

Nepote then highlighted the purchase of 10 menstrual product dispensers to be installed in the Student Union and the H-E-B Student Union. These dispensers will be complimentary and will be installed this semester. 

“We are excited for these dispensers to be installed because menstrual equity is important and it is a strong concern for students here at UTSA,” Nepote stated. 

Students currently looking for menstrual products on-campus can also visit the fourth-floor restrooms in the John Peace Library or the H-E-B Student Union. 

Nepote then spoke on the recent accomplishments of the various SGA committees.

The Academic Affairs Committee compiled feedback regarding the student migration from Blackboard to Canvas and relayed it to UTSA administration.

The Business Affairs Committee worked in conjunction with UTSA Dining Services to address student concerns regarding inclusive food options. They also worked with UTSA Parking to address various issues and concerns raised by students. 

The Sustainability Committee met with the Office of Sustainability to further discuss the expansion and growth of green third spaces. 

“We have seen how crowded our campuses are getting, and our students need more spaces to exist and interact with nature,” Nepote stated. 

The Student Affairs Committee is participating in a student experience task force to better help the UTSA Administration improve students’ experiences. The Student Affairs Committee is also advocating for campus beautification, the commission of a new mural for the Main Campus and the installation of a statue for the Downtown Campus. 

“As you can tell, we are working on many different areas, and it seems like a lot. It is all necessary work to improve the quality of our college experience here at UTSA,” Nepote stated. 

This semester, SGA will hold elections for all executive and senatorial positions. Those looking to apply can find more information on SGA’s RowdyLink page. 

The next SGA general assembly will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the Harris-Travis Room (2.202 and 2.212) in the H-E-B Student Union, and all UTSA students are welcome to attend.

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About the Contributor
Jake Mireles, Opinion Editor
Jake (He/Him) is a second-year political science major at UTSA. Originally from Austin, he plans to move anywhere but Texas after graduation. If he is not climbing out from under a mountain of homework, you can usually find him listening to podcasts, playing saxophone or being an avid napper. This is his third-semester writing for the Paisano and his second semester serving as the Opinion Editor. He is excited for many to come while he explores a possible career path in journalism.

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