Student government assembly discusses establishing space for nontraditional students

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Student leaders unanimously passed legislation to support creating a center for non-traditional students Tuesday. From left, Natural Science Representative Jordan Clements, Liberal Arts Representative Mark Stephens, Codirector of Hook the Vote Jack Bumgardner, University Wide Representative Nora Balli, and Liberal Arts Representative Samuel Ng discuss the legislation.

Photo Credit: Aria Jones | Daily Texan Staff

Student leaders unanimously passed legislation in support of establishing a student center on campus for nontraditional students during the Student Government assembly meeting Tuesday. 

Nontraditional students are defined as transfer students, students older than the age of 23 or student parents, according to the resolution. The assembly resolution aims to integrate transfer students into student life as well as serve as a place for nontraditional students to create bonds and community on campus, according to the executive summary. The resolution was originally brought forth last November, and was created in addition to previous legislation forming a transfer student experience program.

 “It’s pretty well documented that nontraditional students have a very difficult time transferring to The University of Texas,” said Student Government financial director Matthew Kenny. “We are trying to create spaces where nontraditional students … can meet other students with the same experience.”

Kenny said the space would be created in an existing building on campus and the University has the resources to make this happen.

Kerry Mackenzie, chair of the ethics and oversight committee, said there is a transfer student center on the outskirts of campus, but it is far away and not used at all.

“A lot of times, nontraditional students feel like there’s a divide between them (and the rest of campus), but there’s almost a physical emphasis on that,” Mackenzie, a government and plan II sophomore, said. “Having something that’s just for them in the middle of campus will be a really good way to build a community.”

 

Student body president Camron Goodman said the goal is to ensure that nontraditional students feel they have a home on campus and to help them excel academically and socially on campus.

“Me being a transfer student, I have experienced what transfer students go through as they enter campus,” finance senior Goodman said. “I experienced transfer shock, and I experienced the lack of resources and mentorship that would have helped me be successful in my first semester.”

Goodman said the timeline putting this initiative in place depends on the University administration, but the support Student Government expressed for it should help advance the initiative.

“It makes the whole college experience easier,” said Kenny, a chemistry and public health sophomore. “In an ideal world, it would be somewhere very central on campus — a home away from home for many students.”