Student Government: A busy first day for legislative committees

Alan Vargas

The UNF Student Government Committees all met on Friday, Aug. 31 to forward new Senate candidates, read the Constitution and get ready for September’s Osprey Voice.

The Government Oversight Committee, which was chaired by Senate President Thomas Pluchon, heard from seven candidates seeking appointment to Senate and one candidate for associate justice in the judicial branch. Each candidate shared an introduction and some initiatives they’re interested in pursuing in the Senate before answering questions for the Committee.

Sitting Senator Patrick Healy is seeking appointment to Senate because his elected term as senator ends in the spring semester. Healy was elected to a one year term as GO Chair in the fall, therefore he needs this appointment to continue as the GO Chair through the fall term.

“I think that bringing the Swoop Squad up to the third floor to see the Senate chambers and the Supreme Court would really help people decide to come to UNF and would help increase interested in Student Government, too,” Healy told the Committee.

Next, the potential candidates for Senate seats presented themselves to the Committee.

Marine Biology Freshman Griffin Gangwer told the Committee that he would like to look at updating the rock climbing gear in the Wellness Center. Gangwer also told the Committee that he recently witnessed underage drinking at a fraternity event with little to no attempt to stop it.

Senior Thompson Hinman, a political science major and resident assistant, introduced himself and answered questions for the Committee. Thompson shared his motto from Michigan football coach, John Harbaugh, “Attack each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.”

Political Science Major Thatcher Hart shared some concerns that he has experienced and heard from fellow students.

“OneStop is too slow. Some people spend over an hour trying to get something done. Some students have also told me that some of the waterways around campus could use some cleanup,” Hart said. “I had a problem in the Game Room when they accidentally gave my ID to someone else but, because there’s no phone number on it, that person couldn’t contact me. And since an ID is our dorm key, I think this would be a good idea to pursue.”

Next, the Committee heard from Freshman Markos Kampourgolou, a business management and leadership major who helped everyone with the pronunciation of his last name.

He shared some ideas such as working with Housing and Residence Life on the flooding in some of the housing units on campus, including on the third floor of the Osprey Cove. He also mentioned that students had suggested a hot tub to go with the pool at the Clubhouse.

Communications and International Studies Freshman Marisa Materazzi suggested the need for additional bike racks around campus and suggested shading on the long walk from the dorms to campus.

Freshman Valerie Fonseca, a biology major, shared her first experience with UNF Senate while presenting herself.

“I had no idea what I was getting into so I walked into the first Senate meeting in jeans and had half-eaten Chik-fil-A fries with me. I saw everyone dressed up in suits and I really thought about leaving right there but something told me to stay,” she admitted. “I’m so glad I did, because I got to see that Senate is all about representing and helping fellow students.”

Finally, the Committee heard from Nursing Major Dee Parker, who is seeking appointment to the judicial branch. She received a glowing letter of recommendation from SG President Jenna DuPilka and answered a number of questions for the Committee.

Each candidate was forwarded to the Senate floor for confirmation on September 7.

Next, the Constitution and Statutes Committee, Chaired by Chairwoman Sofia Vargas, spent their time reading through the UNF Student Government Constitution to make sure they have a strong understanding of the bylaws of the government.

Then, the University and Student Affairs Committee, Chaired by Delaney Kwatkosky, met to go over the September Osprey Voice. Osprey Voice is a monthly survey of student opinion on current issues around campus. Student Advocate Madison Brantley and Chief of Staff John Aloszka assisted the Committee with determining which questions were pertinent for the coming month.

Because of some recent changes, two Osprey Voices will be held to hear from students. The first will take place from Sept. 10 through Sept. 13 and will ask students about the Thomas G. Carpenter Library’s wifi, laptop chargers and hours of operations. The second OV will be held between Sept. 24 and Sept. 27 and will ask students their opinion on the University’s new alcohol policy. Specifically, it will ask how students feel about the prohibition of alcohol at student events, sporting events and especially the tailgates.

The next Senate meeting will be held on Friday, Sept. 7.

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