With recruitment finalized and assembly meetings underway, UT Senate of College Councils is focused on expanding advising, study abroad opportunities and improving the class registration process.
Senate policy director Amrutha Sreedharane said Senate is seeking to improve communication between students and advisers, especially when students have to coordinate between different departments while pursuing a double major or minor.
“Your adviser is the way you can make sure you’re going to finish your degree,” computer science senior Sreedharane said. “If the adviser does not have all the information necessary to provide that aid to those students, they’re definitely put at a disadvantage.”
Senate announced 48 new at-large members on Sept. 9, and Senate vice president Elena Ivanova said this year’s new group is passionate about improving academic life at UT.
“They’re all so excited — already having legislative ideas, excited to make changes within their resp ective committees, bringing new events on campus,” said Ivanova, a public health and Plan II government junior. “We are super excited this year for what Senate can do.”
New at-large member Emily Jue said she wants to break down perceived financial aid barriers for study abroad opportunities. This includes possibly creating a search function on the study abroad website that filters trips by cost.
“I studied abroad this past summer in Barcelona, and I had a really great time,” chemical engineering sophomore Jue said. “It was a really great experience for me and an experience that all students who want to pursue it should be able to do.”
Senate’s legislative agenda also includes plans to fix technical issues during registration and less severe punishments for not paying registration bars, Ivanova said.
“Instead of being dropped from all your classes, you could potentially lose some sort of access to, for instance, Gregory Gym or some form of externalities that you get through being a student here,” Ivanova said.
During the upcoming state legislative session, Senate will team up with Student Government and the Graduate Student Assembly to invite students to march at the Capitol and advocate for campus issues.
“Our goal this year is to get hopefully 500 students at least out there talking to legislatures … to show students support these initiatives and that the legislature should listen to the student body before making any major decisions that concern the University,” Ivanova said.