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Thursday, December 2, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 71

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SA leaders to meet with Chartwells

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SA has matured this fall

News Analysis

By Jim Parsons
Daily Cougar Staff

If there is one hallmark of the 36th administration of the Students' Association, it has to be maturity.

The SA Senate has worked its way from an inauspicious election ­ in which only 217 students voted and the top three positions were uncontested ­ to prove itself one of the most active student governments in recent years.

The 36th administration has managed to fulfill the most important role of student government: to act as a voice for students' concerns and, many times, to have those concerns addressed by those in charge.

Vice President Dana Enriquez kicked off the semester by addressing textbook shortages at the University Bookstore and encouraging senators to order their textbooks from the Internet. Subsequent meetings between SA representatives and bookstore General Manager Darren Croom resulted in a plan to distribute cards students can use to request necessary books next semester.

The bookstore will either place more texts on the shelf or put them on special order.

And that is only one example. Over the course of the semester, senators also discussed the reliability of Woodforest National Bank's automated teller machines on campus, the quality of campus food service, the availability of academic advising and campus safety. In each of those cases, SA representatives met with the appropriate officials and found ways to rectify the situations.

Senators have also been active in writing legislation responding to students' concerns, ranging from a bill calling for liquid soap to be placed in campus dispensers to legislation asking for the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library to remain open 24 hours a day.

Such activity is valuable in that it reflects the wishes of the students. It highlights the fact that the SA senators are elected to represent the students, and in the future it will help promote the idea that the University listens to, and works for, its students.

The challenge the 36th Senate will have to face as it rounds out the last few months of its term is to avoid becoming complacent in its own success. Senators must maintain their strong attendance record and their responsiveness to their constituents' concerns. The executives must continue to try to bring the student government closer to the students themselves.

And, when March rolls around, the Senate must find a way to increase participation in the SA elections. The livelihood of student government depends on students' being interested enough to participate in it.
 

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