UT Senate finishes semester, calls for easier transportation options for sick students

Sara Schleede

In the final meeting of the year, the UT Senate of College Councils passed its last legislation of the semester — Senate Resolution 1724, which supports the establishment of University Health Services shuttles.

“(We want to) implement a shuttle service that transfers students on campus who are ill and can’t make their way to the Student Services Building themselves, so they can receive … proper medical care and ensure that they’re not penalized for not showing up to class when they’re too ill to get around campus,” said David Jenkins, senate president and resolution co-author.

According to the legislation, the closest and most convenient place to receive medical care — the Student Services Building on Dean Keeton Street — is still far across campus for students living in residence halls such as Jester, and requiring students to walk across campus to receive care could have negative impacts on their health.

Jenkins, an English junior, said UHS is excited to work with the senate to find solutions. If implemented, the shuttle service would run on campus and potentially expand to areas off campus. 

Thursday night also marked the first meeting under the new administration. 

Xena Nam, newly appointed administrative director, said she hopes to see a change in senate culture in the upcoming year. 

“I want to see senate expand more in its audience,” public health junior Nam said. “Right now, it’s targeted more to student leaders. We don’t have enough focus on transfer students, international students (and) minority students. I want to make it more inclusive.” 

One of the senate’s new initiatives is to host town hall discussions to target freshmen who, Nam said, are typically most vocal about any discomfort they experience at the University.

“We associate (the Senate of College Councils) with academics, and that might put people off,” Nam said. “Senate wants to step away from that narrow focus and appeal to the general members … because at the end of the day, that’s who we’re advocating for.”

Erika Ong, newly appointed financial director, said she wants to expand fundraising opportunities and spearhead the new fundraising committee, which gives nontraditional scholarships, scholarships for study abroad trips and scholarships for educational tools, such as laptops.

“All of those scholarships are great and wonderful, but they cannot exist without fundraising to fund those scholarships,” public health junior Ong said. “The fundraising committee is part of this vision, making sure senate has long-term donations flowing in to support those scholarships and (to) add scholarships in years to come.”