As the semester’s final days quickly approach, it’s time to reconvene with members of the student government. Gabe Payne, vice president, Austin Henderson, secretary of community relations and Veronica Camargo, secretary of student organization affairs discuss their projects this semester.
Gabe Payne: Vice President
Gabe Payne, a senior health science major and vice president of Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU), has been busy working with student assembly. Assembly, along with other sections of ASBSU, has been working on four main projects: tackling food insecurity, diversity week, mental illness awareness and a spring farmer’s market.
Last year, each executive member led a group of students to form a committee of their designated projects.
“We saw that some students might be more passionate about certain projects compared to others–even within the same committee,” said Payne. “Having these four projects and allowing students to find their passions and use their skills to help move the project forward is new this year.”
There has also been a push for creativity and student outreach.
“We have introduced the practice of design thinking, which is the concept that there are no dumb ideas, just ideas that need the foundation to grow when discussing how to carry through our projects,” Payne said. “We look at what Boise State is doing well, what they can improve on and how to fix any issues.”
Another change this semester includes leadership luncheons, which are informal lunches students can attend and meet with educators.
“31 people came to the last one,” Payne said. “We are getting educators that are more focused on student experience and student voice.”
The event is open for all students, with the next one taking place in December and throughout the spring.
Spring will be an exciting time, according to Payne.
“These are the months where all four projects will take place. Diversity week will take place, and hopefully the food pantry will have a secured location,” Payne said.
Austin Henderson: Secretary of Community Relations
As secretary of community relations, Henderson was in charge of the Boise State block party and Voter Registration day during this first semester. He is also the head of the committee planning diversity week and has been working closely with the Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC).
Henderson has been working alongside the vice president of the IESC to plan events and respond to conversations occurring on campus.
“A lot of my position involves making sure students know their student government cares about them,” Henderson said.
He specifically cited the occasional need to respond to national conversations, such as when Henderson and ASBSU President Sienna George drafted a statement to send to students in response to President Trump’s policy advocacies on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Veronica Camargo: Secretary of Student Organization Affairs
As the head of the funding board, Camargo is in charge of allocating student fees to student organizations requesting money for travel, supplies or other needs. According to Camargo, this semester there have been 195 requests for funds as of Dec. 3.
“Most funds run out within a little over the first semester, but we believe that this year they will stretch well into the spring semester,” Camargo said.
An addition to the process this semester included the addition of a “deferred” category for student organizations who may have presented well but lacked basic information needed for the funds to be granted.
“They might not have all the information or may have to reword to comply with code,” Camargo said. “They get an assigned officer to help and they resubmit. Then I present to the board via email. It helps so the students don’t have to come back to be re-heard in front of the whole board.”
There has also been the addition of three more specific forms to allow for more accurate fund requests: expense request, event request and travel request.
“My goal is to improve the student experience. In order to do that I make hearing review notes that have all the details regarding their grant and any existing questions, so when they are in the hearing we can focus on what the student actually wants funding for as opposed to asking tedious questions,” Camargo said.
After the given event, officers are responsible with following up with student organizations and asking for results, pictures and other information, which is also new.
“I am looking to see how our officers, including me, can be more involved and so students can get to know them as well,” Camargo said.