Senate works to be more visible through event participation

Friends, although it isn’t midterm time for you in the classroom just yet, I believe you are due a progress report from your Student Government Senate. Now, I know many of you have been following along with our achievements this year through Kernel reporting and wall posts, but I know not whether all of you have had the opportunity to see just exactly what we have done this year.

When the 2007 fall semester began, the members of the student Senate and I, all elected by you, joined together to set some very distinct goals; further, we wanted to work to see changes that would leave a lasting legacy for senators to come.

In my first Kernel column, I explained that it is our “fundamental responsibility to assist student organizations and groups in bettering not just the campus, but the lives of the students.”

We were given $70,000 from the total SG budget for allocations to the student body, but we knew that, in order to see those positive changes, there had to be an attitude shift in the way we distributed student fees.

No one can identify campus’ needs better than the student body itself, so this year, we intensified our efforts to not only help students and groups achieve their goals, but to also give them a face and a name to navigate them through university resources via an SG senator.

I feel strongly about the Senate being more than a “bank and loan,” but rather a helping hand for students to look to when they have that big idea or just need some help doing something in their own community. I believe that, for the most part, we have done that well.

In Wednesday’s Senate meeting, we passed four such projects. For example, some students from the Students for Safety @ UK came to the Senate for help putting on “The Vagina Monologues” performance on campus, and Sen. Kelsey Hayes and Sen. George Kington walked them through the process. The two senators made it as personal and easy for the students as possible.

Sen. Ashley Woodruff of the College of Health Sciences brought forth a proposal to purchase a physical therapy table to assist physical therapy students in continuing to give free services to the Lexington community through the Salvation Army.

Sen. Alex Garcia brought forward a request to help support UK students participating in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters’ event Bowl for Kids’ Sake; further, senators will even be bowling to raise money for children in our community.

In the last meeting, we also approved online voting for the spring SG elections, something we have been trying to pass for almost three years. This will allow all students the opportunity to exercise their right to vote while making the process as efficient and credible as possible.

Although we have allocated more than half of our designated funds for the year, we know we have many more challenges to overcome and issues that must be tackled before this session is complete. We are working toward making the Senate more visible to students through participation in more events that we fund, and we intend to make the process even easier for students to enact change here at UK through SG.

As the tired old saying goes, “We can’t hear you if you don’t speak up.” Senators can’t help you if you don’t tell them what you need. So visit the Web site (

/legislative.html) or shoot me an e-mail if you have any suggestions, positive or negative, because we want to be the change you want to see.

Tyler Montell is the Student Government Senate president. E-mail [email protected].