Student Government convenes to offer a semester preview

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Student body president Kevin Helgren discusses current plans to increase diversity awareness on campus. The 110th session officers have eight more legislative sessions left before the new officers take their places.
Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

Student Government convened Tuesday night to preview what’s in store for their last semester as the 110th session officers.

Applications to run for SG officer positions close Feb. 14 at noon, and candidates will be able to begin publicly campaigning Feb. 15. 

Student body president Kevin Helgren said he hopes for a positive transition for his successors.

“First and foremost, Binna (Kim) and I are a team,” Helgren, a psychology and neuroscience senior, said. “We actually view this as a bit of a blessing in disguise in that the more attention that’s focused on the campaign, the more time we’ll have to actually get down and get our work done.”

Helgren said he and vice president Binna Kim are not getting involved with the elections publicly and are not endorsing any candidates.

Helgren said the three projects he is currently working on are spreading diversity at the UT System level, reconstruction of the West Mall fountain and the Campus Closet Initiative, which allows disadvantaged students to rent suits for formal and professional events. 

SG will pair with the Counseling and Mental Health Center for “Stick It To Stigma Week” the last week of March to try to end the stigma surrounding mental health.

Chief of staff Isaiah Carter said the three projects he is working on should be completed before elections begin. Carter is working on finishing a map of safe routes on campus, spreading word about the Be Safe campaign and expanding SURE Walk.

“When we were elected, we made a commitment that we would do our jobs faithfully and fully until the day that we left office,” Carter, a Plan II and government junior, said. 

Adit Bior, administrative director and philosophy senior, said she doesn’t think campaigning will affect any type of work that they’re doing in SG.

“I think that it will be fun to watch, and it will be interesting,” Bior said. “But in terms of getting our work done, I can’t see any reason to worry.”

Bior said she is currently working on diversity initiatives and mentorship programs for high school students in the inner-city communities of Austin. These programs are expected to be completed at the end of the semester, Bior said.

Economics senior Jonathan Dror said he is working on allocating different funds to student organizations and scholarships in his role as external financial director. Dror said he is also part of the Eyes to Eyes initiative, which is a partnership with the University Co-op and Texas Athletics to ensure students attend different sporting events and are engaged on campus.

“It’s really easy to press the cruise control button,” Helgren said at the meeting. “You all worked so hard to get here, and you can make so much positive change in the last eight weeks, so keep working hard, keep serving the University.”