‘I just want to make UDM better’

BY Maggie Jackson



Newly elected Student Government Association President Karic Jones is promising an era of change.

At the top of the list: restructuring the organization and expanding activities on campus.

Jones, a junior dual major in psychology and communication studies, was elected president in an online election that saw 291 votes cast last week. He defeated Dave Toupin.

Also elected were sophomore history and business major Dhruv Patel as administrative vice president and sophomore biology major Jacob Flyte as legislative vice president. Patel was unopposed. Flyte won over Mary Mikko.

Jones said that this year SGA will be focusing mainly on restructuring.

“SGA kind of fell apart a little bit last year after the president resigned, so this year we went with an executive team and we have been restructuring the constitution and how things work,” said Jones. “Before, it was where anybody could basically walk off of the street and join SGA and have a vote. It is not going to be that way anymore.”

He said the restructuring is necessary.

“The only way to rebuild something like that is for it to completely fall apart and then get picked back up,” he said.

Jones hopes that the new SGA system will be comprised of two houses: a President’s Council, where all student-organization presidents meet, and Student Senate, comprised of two representatives from each college as well as representatives from major organizations like University Ministry and Sodexo, for example.

One other goal that Jones hopes to accomplish during his term is to increase the activities held on campus.

“I have been here for four years now and the one thing that I really think is an issue is that there is not much to do and a lot of people complain about it,” said Jones. “We don’t retain students as well as other schools do.”

He thinks student activities contribute to retention.

Jones said he has lived on campus for four years but frequently goes home on weekends “because there is not anything to do.”

“(This) is an issue,” he said. “I wanted to try and get into power and try to get a student activity fee passed.”

If successful, the student activities fee would allow more events to be held on campus.

Jones proposes at the start of each year student be charged $100. The money would be used to improve life on campus.

 “Each organization would start off with a certain amount in their accounts so that they are not asking for money,” said Jones. “This would really liven up the place. Since this has been happening for so long, people have become apathetic to their college experience here and that is not something that I am really comfortable with.”

Vice President Patel said that because SGA is still restructuring and the new leaders are adjusting to roles, some major changes will not be put into motion until the fall.

But, he added, some things will be happening by the end of the winter.

“If you were to go to a different school and ask a student there what their experience there was like, they will tell you what they have on campus and what they do on campus,” said Patel. “We are a commuter school and a lot of students go back home. Outside of the generic reason of wanting to stay on campus and have fun, what are the other reasons for people to stay on campus?”

Patel would like UDM to have more of an identity and culture “people can decide what they want to do.”

“When people finish,” he added, “I want them to look back and think about the things that we have on campus.”

Patel said he also hopes to make students aware of SGA and the things the association does for the UDM community.

“If you were to walk up to anyone on campus right now and ask them what student government is, you will just get a shrug of their shoulders and that is it,” said Patel. “That has to change.

“People should know what student government is and what work and results, if any, are achieved by student government. It is a big part of any student body and seeing how other Jesuit schools have their student governments, I think UDM should do the same thing.”

SGA has the power to make an impact and let student voices be heard, he said.

“Every organization on campus is affected by student government,” said Patel. “Funding, regulations and policies – people do not realize that these affect each individual organization. Senate elections are coming up and I encourage everyone to run for UDM because if you want to have a say in how things are done you should be a part of it. Sit on the senate, say your piece, try and get what you want.”

Besides making SGA’s presence known on campus and creating more student activities, President Jones said that his main goal as president is to let student voices be heard.

“I just want to make UDM better,” said Jones. “I don’t want to be like some of the presidents that SGA had in the past where they just went to events and talked. I am the kind of person – and I campaigned on it – if I have an issue and nobody is listening to that issue, I will walk up to the fifth floor of Fisher and sit in the President’s office drinking tea with his secretary until he gets back. I am that kind of person.”

He said he doesn’t like to take no for an answer.

“I am the type of person who makes people listen to what I have to say,” he said. “There are a lot of layers of administration to go through to get things done, but I want to make sure that the voices of the students are heard. I think that that is the key.”


Senate election this week

Now that the President’s Council is in place, Student Senate elections will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26-27.

Campaigning for the election will be this week with voting online through TitanConnect.