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In First Meeting of the Year, UC Discusses Role As Advocate for Students

UC Opens for Business
Undergraduate Council President Gus A. Mayopoulos '15 convened the 32nd Undergraduate Council for its first spring semester meeting and discussed which issues the Council should tackle this semester.

In the Undergraduate Council’s first meeting of the year, newly elected President Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15 and Vice President Sietse K. Goffard ’15 led a discussion Sunday night on the role of the UC as an advocate for students on issues such as referendum action items. UC officers also provided updates on initiatives for the new year, including the delivery of student funds by direct deposit and the creation of a more user-friendly website.

Humorously dressed in a military uniform and equipped with a plastic sword, Mayopoulos openly discussed the relationship between the UC and the student body.

“Everyone knows about this problem the UC has with student communication,” he said.

As one method to bolster the relationship between the UC and the student body, Mayopoulos—formerly the vice presidential candidate on the joke ticket that won the UC presidential election in November—outlined Operation Ghost Protocol, an initiative introduced in an email to the student body earlier this month. The protocol, which mandates UC representatives to be in the dining halls of the house they represent and communicate directly with students, will begin next Friday, he said.

Members then brainstormed ways in which the UC could be perceived as an advocacy group, rather than solely a means of financial support. Many members agreed that the Council should be more visible and launch programs that directly impact students and allow them to voice opinions.

“Are we just going to be the ‘big daddy’ on campus where we’re going to give all our money [to students]?” said Dhruv P. Goyal ’16, Ed ucation Committee chair. “We need to get out of that cocoon of doing things the conventional way.”

In recent years, referendum questions, typically voted on by students during the UC presidential election, have served as potential areas for advocacy from the Council. In legislation passed last spring, the UC adjusted its rules so that the Council is only required to write an official opinion on a passed referendum when half or more of the student population votes. Because less than half of all undergraduates voted in the fall election, the UC is not bound to write opinions for the four referendum questions considered, all of which passed.

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