A “We Do” mentality has molded student council members’ plans for the 2014-15 academic year.
Dixie State University’s Student Association outlined the next two semesters’ schedules to follow an experiential learning theme, with new activities and an emphasis on more community connections.
“We as a student association we are holding ourselves accountable to try to provide opportunities and resources to our students to give them support at a university level,” said Student Body President Gregory J. Layton, a senior English major from Cottonwood Heights.
Megan Church, vice president of service, is heading the DSUSA’s first-ever service department, which she said is in place to provide chances for students to learn the rewards of volunteering. While student government has provided volunteer opportunities in the past, 2014 will be the first year an official department is in place to organize and promote volunteer events.
“This year we’re trying really hard to make [service] something that students want to come and do,” said Church, a senior integrated studies major from St. George. “We want to give them the opportunities they need for graduation and to network with people outside of school because that’s really where they’ll meet people where they’ll eventually find a job.”
Service events, like a special needs pageant arranged for Nov. 11, have been planned in order to show students volunteering can not only be excellent for resumes, but also fun, Church said. The first service project was Tuesday, Aug. 26 at the SwitchPoint Community Resource Center (948 N. 1300 West) at 6 p.m., where students will help assemble beds and set up living spaces for those in need.
The new service department was conceived at an opportune time, since one of DSUSA’s main goals this year is to build community-campus relationships, Church said.
“Dixie was supported and founded by our community, and I think it’s really important for us to give back,” Church said.
Layton said in order to become more community-focused and to cater to more non-traditional students (those older than 25 who may have children), DSUSA is planning more family-friendly events this semester, like carnivals and drive-in movies.
Jill Wulfenstein, vice president of student life and a senior integrated studies major from Pahrump, Nevada, said she’s coordinated with Tuacahn to offer $8 tickets for students to see “The Little Mermaid” Sept. 3. Also, DSUSA members have teamed up with city officials to organize a pool party at the city pool (250 E. 700 South) Sept. 12.
“We have a big portion of non-traditional students who have families, jobs and kids, so we’re trying to come up with activities that they can go to and feel comfortable,” Layton said. “Most of the community-involved activities are also family friendly, so with them we get to cater to those students and also build the community relationship.”
Additionally, DSUSA members are backing a handful of new initiatives. Layton said while DSUSA members intend to continue to implement the Tobacco-Free Campus initiative, they are also planning to pursue a stronger campus cheating policy.
Two Utah Student Association initiatives are also on DSUSA’s white board: a college affordability initiative to push the state legislature to pass a bill that commits to always pay 50 percent of Utah students’ tuition — called Hold the Line 50/50 — and a sexual assault prevention and education initiative.
Layton said the Hold the Line 50/50 initiative, with a rally on the steps of the Capitol, will consume a large bulk of DSUSA’s time, but the White House-backed sexual assault prevention initiative will also be a great focus.
Vice President of Academics D’Andre Mathews, a senior biology major from Las Vegas, said his goal for this semester is to ensure students know they have resources for funding their academic milestones, whether they be humanitarian trips, capstones or graduate record examinations. Mathews said this semester he and other council members will also continue progress with bringing the first master’s degrees to DSU, as the process is still in its beginning stages.
Additionally, Mathews said he has been working with the board of regents for construction of a new building on campus. Because the building is still in its early planning stages, he said he could not provide many details besides the fact that the building “could possibly bring the opportunity for a physical education degree.”
“My vision for academics this year is to make it a stronghold of student government,” Mathews said. “Of course when we come to college we want to do all the fun stuff, and that’s all great and good, but we have to remember the main reason we are here: our education.”
Anyone with suggestions or questions for DSUSA members can visit dixiestudentlife.com.