USGA: Undergrad Slackers Governing Activities

I work at my alma mater as the office manager, but I’m still a student albeit grad school. Part of my job is to keep up with campus activities or lack thereof. This year the undergraduate student government was part of the latter, and I called them on it.

As a student returning to campus after time in the “real world” of corporate America it has been an eye opening experience to watch UAB “grow up” in these last few years.

Everything is changing. Most of these changes have been positive such as the booming construction across campus that will give us a new dorm, a parking deck and a student center.

However, some of these changes have been for the worse. I have spent more semesters at UAB than I care to admit, and yet I cannot remember a worse group of student government advocates.

Elections came and went over the last weeks with little presence on campus. A few signs dotted the Green. A couple balloons hovered around Heritage Hall.

When it was time to cast a vote there were only three places across campus to do this. Stations appeared at the Commons, Sterne Library and the Business and Engineering Complex.

I doubted that just these three locations can best serve the entire undergraduate community. Then I discovered that according to the Kaleidoscope’s March 18 center spread only 12 percent of eligible students participated in the 2012-2013 elections.

How does the USGA expect to raise interest, or even awareness, about their work across campus if they do not even advertise themselves?

Once these students are elected by their peers the question then becomes what do these elected officials even do besides padding their resumes?

There are four main events the USGA hosts annually. The fall semester includes a “backyard barbeque” meet-and-greet at the beginning of the school year and a student forum. The spring semester also includes a forum and plus elections for the following academic year.

I admit I missed the October barbeque, but I observed the November 5 fall forum had lukewarm success. The event focused mainly on repercussions of not currently having a university center. A few students voiced concerns over limited dining options, study space, and a lack of ATMs on campus.

While any issues involving food and money are important the event was poorly organized and featured fewer attendees than the tightly paced 2013 spring forum.

This is nothing compared to the absolutely awful job done to advertise the 2014 spring forum. Announcements were made for the March 18 forum at 4:51 pm. This notice was broadcasted a mere nine minutes before the event started. I find such behavior intolerable and inexcusable for anyone over the age of 14.

It is true that the snowstorms, all three of them unnatural, upended the spring academic calendar. A single storm forced our entire city to close for nearly a week.

One skidding car blocked another and another revealing our regular commuter traffic jams. Ice, sleet and snow compounded the problem until every available route was first gridlocked and then abandoned as citizens slowly struggled home by other means.

I compared this, like so many others did, to AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead.” The 2013-2014 USGA moved through this school year with the same clarity and preparation of those brain-dead zombies.

Meanwhile the USGA calendar remains as lifeless as a “walker” put down by the likes of Michonne or Daryl.

See for yourself at


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