Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Remaking Student Government: Why You Should Vote for Austin and Andy for Student Government President and Vice President

Lorianne Willett
Presidential candidate Austin Barthel and vice presidential candidate Andrew McKiernan on Feb. 20, 2024.

Editor’s note: This column was submitted to the Texan by members of the UT community.

As candidates for President and Vice President of the University of Texas at Austin’s Student Government (UTSG), we are eager to unveil our vision for the future of our campus community. Our campaign goes beyond mere electioneering— it’s about reshaping the role and function of Student Government by ensuring that UTSG serves every student at UT Austin.

Right now, Student Government isn’t doing that much for students. Most of us only hear from them when it’s time to vote, and then they disappear. We want to change that. Student Government should be focused on helping students, not on themselves.

When we looked at the budget, we were shocked by the percentage of the money which was spent on salaries of executive members. But what was even more shocking was the lack of transparency around the budget. We were unable to find a public version of the budget, and the version which we were able to find, located in assembly Bill 1, appears to be incomplete. That is why we would make it a priority of ours to, unlike the current student government, transparently release full budgets detailing all UTSG spending for both the upcoming year and all past years. 

Student Government should focus on helping students, not just paying themselves. That’s why we suggest cutting funding for Student Government and reallocating those resources towards initiatives that directly benefit students, and that’s why we promise to defund our own salaries if we are to be elected.

Our plan is simple. We want to make sure that Student Government spends money wisely. We want to cut back on unnecessary expenses and give more money back to students. We also want to make sure that Student Government is transparent about how they use their funds.

To start, we propose capping the budgets of Student Government agencies at $3,000 each. This will encourage responsible spending and ensure that money is being used effectively. We also want to reduce the amount of money going to special projects and operations and eliminate stipends for Student Government officers. Instead, we want to allocate more funds to scholarships for students in need.

We believe that every student at UT Austin should have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their financial situation. By reallocating the budget towards scholarships, we can make a real difference in the lives of students. 

To promote transparency, we plan to upload the Student Government budget and expenditure details to the UTSG website, so that students can see exactly how their money is being spent. We also want to conduct regular audits of Student Government agencies to ensure their funds are being used responsibly. 

Our campaign is not merely focused on funding— we have plans for initiatives to better serve the student body, from fostering inclusion on campus to promoting free speech— but all of our initiatives are revenue neutral and are secondary to our primary aim of achieving fiscal responsibility in student government.  

Our vision for Student Government is one that prioritizes the needs of students above all else. That’s why we’re asking for your vote on February 26th and 27th. Together, we can create a Student Government that truly serves the needs of the students.

Barthel is a Geosystems Engineering and Hydrology Junior from El Paso.
Mckiernan is a Government Sophomore from San Antonio.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.