Student government leaders work to implement policies

Audrey Zhang

While most students were on summer break, Student Government President Kevin Helgren and Vice President Binna Kim have been busy putting into action their platform for the upcoming semester.

Making SG more inclusive, increasing campus safety, preparing for the Big 12 SG Association Conference and implementing the new Eyes to Eyes program are some of Student Government’s main goals for the semester.

“We’ve done a lot of good work over the summer,” Helgren said. “We’ve been working hard since we were sworn in April 7, and we will continue to work hard until our successors take our spot.”

Eyes to Eyes is one of the first programs that SG will implement in the new semester. Kim said the name of the program comes from the tradition of singing “The Eyes of Texas” before and after every UT athletics event. The program — which works alongside the University Co-Op, Texas Athletics and Texas Exes — aims to have students arrive early to the game and stay until the very end.

“A big problem Texas Athletics voiced to us is how can we get our students engaged and get them to games early?” Kim said. “I think we love our football team, but there’s always room for improvement, and that’s what we are hoping Eyes to Eyes will do.”

Helgren and Kim have also been preparing for the Big 12 Student Government Association Conference in the fall. The conference is in preparation for Big 12 on the Hill, where members of Big 12 student governments visit Washington D.C. to lobby legislators.

The representatives from Student Government hope to make the topic of sexual assault on college campuses one of the main issues brought to Washington.

“The Big 12 conference is a great opportunity to have all the student leaders from the conference in one room,” Kim said. “I’ve been working to set aside time to talk about the problem of sexual assault on college campuses.”

Making campus safer for students and faculty is also a major goal for SG. 

Helgren and Kim were sworn into office April 7 of this year, the same day the death of UT student Haruka Weiser was first reported.

“We’ve worked with a lot of stakeholders over the summer to ensure that the safety and security of students, staff and faculty members is in fact guaranteed in the fall,” Helgren said. “We extended the hours of SURE Walk, we’ve worked with Parking and Transportation [Services] to fund a golf cart, and we’ve also made a lot of aesthetic changes to SURE Walk to ensure its legitimacy.”

Helgren and Kim both said the previous administration of Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu worked very hard to make SG more inclusive, and they hope to carry on that trend. They have already begun to create committees such as the Internal Reformation Committee in order to reach out to new groups of students not previously involved in SG.

“The trend from last year has definitely continued,” said Taral Patel, chief of staff during the Rotnofsky-Mandalapu administration. “Kevin and Binna, in their campaign and in their administration, have made engaging a diverse group of people a big goal, and it should be interesting to see if they’re able to do it fully or not.”