Finding Senate

Lu Barraza and Austin Reynolds

This year, the Senate of College Councils recruitment theme is “Finding Senate.” Over the summer, our leadership team tabled every inch of the 40 Acres, hosted several info sessions and ordered a fair amount of Domino’s, all in the hopes that incoming students would find Senate and, ultimately, find their place at UT.

The Senate of College Councils advocates for students at the University of Texas at Austin by identifying academic issues on campus that affect all students. Senate is able to assuage these issues through the strength of our collective graduate and undergraduate college councils. Together, these councils vote on individual pieces of legislation that work to resolve wide-reaching problems. We have the privilege of assembling a legislative agenda each year that helps both students and faculty harbor a more inclusive and productive learning environment.

The academic change we want to see this year involves extensive work with the Registrar. Initiatives include reorganizing the registration website to make it simpler for students, listing major requirements on the Course Schedule and adding gender pronouns to Canvas. We want to make academics a place where self-expression is included in the curriculum, and, in an effort to do so, advocating for gender pronouns to be placed on Canvas is a small step in the long fight to better represent transgender and non-binary folks within academics.

The leadership of Senate also recognizes that student health is directly correlated to student performance in the classroom. Because of this, we will be continuing our work with University Health Services (UHS) to assure that students have the healthcare they need. We plan to address transportation needs to UHS through establishing a University Shuttle Service that can take students to and from the health center. Additionally, we are advocating for the creation of a satellite health clinic near Jester dormitories in order to have student health be more present on that side of campus. Finally, we are still working to bring Dental Services on this campus.

In order to address a longstanding issue among students with disabilities, Senate is advocating for a centralized testing center. A centralized testing center addresses the need for a one-time location where students with disabilities can take examinations. It is crucial that students have a centralized location for testing, and, frankly, it is against all reason that we do not have one at the University of Texas currently.

Our leadership team is ecstatic for this upcoming year. We have recently welcomed 42 new members to our at-large program and we are excited to help them find a home and find Senate. If you have any questions about our agenda, please reach out to either Lu Barraza, [email protected], or myself, [email protected]

Reynolds is an English honors 5th-year. Barraza is an advertising senior. They serve as the president and vice president of the Senate of College Councils.