UT Senate of College Councils committees are tabling and hosting an open house event called Academics Week this week to promote higher education engagement on campus.
“It’s all about seeing what the student body needs so we can be their voice in academics,” Senate policy director Hussain Alkhafaji said.
At Senate tables in West Mall and on Speedway, students are encouraged to voice their concerns related to academics, said Alkhafaji, a public health and journalism senior.
He said this can include anything from adding classes that do not exist to adding information to syllabi.
“Students have this ‘aha’ moment where they’re talking about certain things, and you can see them slowly get passionate about issues they took to themselves,” Alkhafaji said. “It validates, in a lot of ways, what we do and what our purpose is because it creates this environment that’s open to student input.”
Academics Week takes place each semester to give Senate committees more exposure, Alkhafaji said. Of Senate’s eight committees, only four will table. Next semester, the committees will trade places.
Each day of the week is dedicated to a committee to foster conversation on their specific role within Senate, internal director Sarah Hyden said. The academic policy committee tabled on Monday, and the fundraising, faculty affairs and undergraduate research committees will table on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
The committees will also have activities to engage with students, said Hyden, an urban studies and humanities senior. Membership director Vinit Shah said the fundraising committee is selling coffee to raise money for the scholarships they give out, and the faculty affairs committee is having students write thank you cards to professors.
Although the committee of academic integrity is not tabling this semester, they are hosting the Student Equity Town Hall Wednesday night in the William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center Legislative Assembly Room. Additionally, Senate is hosting its open house in West Mall Thursday evening.
“We’re just going to be having an open mic session where students can just come in and voice their concerns about academics,” public health junior Shah said.
Hyden said Senate will pass out T-shirts while tabling and at the open house. She said she hopes this event makes UT Senate more visible and accessible to students on campus.
“I’m really excited about it because I really want it to be something that makes Senate into something more approachable,” Hyden said.