Engage with Senate of College Councils

Meagan Abel and Rachel Osterloh

One of the greatest strengths of UT is the sheer vastness of the Longhorn community. While we take pride in stretching over the famous 40 Acres, the size of our University comes with challenges in assessing University-wide concerns. Student organizations and leaders struggle with how to gauge the opinions, desires and issues faced by the student body. Student leaders are passionate and dedicated, but we cannot be effective unless we are able to overcome this challenge.

The Senate of College Councils brings together representative bodies of each college to discuss important University-wide issues. Composed of 20 college councils and an internal standing board and committees, Senate uses its council structure to address campus concerns college-by-college. For example, the Undergraduate Business Council and Communication Council advocated for the implementation of minors on transcripts, and the Graduate Engineering Council has created a series of graduate networking symposia for the benefit of all graduate students. The Liberal Arts Council allocated $16,000 in study abroad scholarships for students last semester, and the Undergraduate Studies Council advocates for the importance of exploring and discovering academic passions. 

Collectively, these councils come together to represent the aggregate needs of the student body. This has resulted in such projects as the recently premiered Honor Code Video featuring Matthew McConaughey, Laura Bush, Michael Dell and many others, creating the International Relations and Global Studies Major and pushing for student involvement in the tuition-setting process. Combined with long-standing relationships with UT administrators and faculty, Senate has been able to enhance the academic experience at UT-Austin since 1973.

This past summer marks a significant change in student involvement at UT-Austin. With the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue, students realized the power of their voices. This momentum cannot cease with the removal of a single Confederate statue. From working to destigmatize mental health issues in academia to promoting gender equity on campus, we still have a long way to go. It is our hope that, with the student body fully aware of their potential, these and many more changes can be made to our University.

As student leaders, we hope to leave UT a better institution than the way we found it. However, we can’t fix academic policies until we know what the problems are. For that, we need your help. Come to Campus Conversations, join your college council, or even leave a note in our virtual suggestion box — each time you engage with Senate is an opportunity for you to help us. We recognize that transparency and accessibility can be difficult for a student organization to achieve. Senate will be taking active strides to solve this problem. By coming together as one Longhorn community, we can improve this campus for ourselves and the many generations of Longhorns that will come after us. Hook ’em.

Rachel Osterloh is a government and philosophy senior. Osterloh is the president of the president of Senate of College Councils. Meagan Abel is a government, linguistics and English senior. Abel is the vice president of Senate of College Councils.