It is my pleasure to welcome you back to campus after what was hopefully an enjoyable and relaxing winter break. The start of a new semester is always an exciting time. It is a chance to re-evaluate your goals, meet new people, and try new things on campus. After a few weeks off, I hope you feel refreshed and energized for what is ahead.
Winter break gave me the opportunity to reflect on the successes and failures of this past semester. Overall, I cannot believe how fast this year, and our team, is flying by. My job as UISG president has given me the most rewarding months of my life, and I am grateful every day for the opportunity to serve University of Iowa students. From registering over 3,500 students to vote in the 2016 election, to creating an It’s On Us PSA about eradicating campus sexual assault, to eliminating sales tax in the Hawk Shop to save students money, we have exciting accomplishments to be proud of after our first semester in office. One of my favorite memories from the past few months was when UISG hosted free outdoor yoga on the Pentacrest as part of our “Month of Mental Health” in partnership with Active Minds. It was incredible to see students outside enjoying our beautiful campus, spending quality time together, and practicing self-care.
Yet, I am the first to recognize that there is so much left to do. Campus sexual assault remains far too prevalent and disturbs the lives of countless students every year; tuition continues to rise as state support for public higher education continues to fall; and many of our students do not feel safe or included on campus. The problems that we hope to address in our remaining four months are some of the most pressing in in our lifetime. That is why I am writing today to say that we want your help. If I have learned anything this year, it is that we cannot do this important work alone. To truly move this campus community forward, we must all play an active role in making the University of Iowa a better place to live, work, learn, and grow.
Looking ahead to the coming semester, student engagement will be more important for us than ever. We hope to connect with more students and help them understand our purpose. UISG is a resource for students—we aim to elevate student voices and fight for the issues they care about. Our office is always open and we are eager to engage with passionate students. My job as Student Body President is to empower my peers. My message has always been, and will continue to be, that you do not need to be in student government to effect change on this campus. Email me. We will find a way for you to help fight for the issues that you care about.
Students, your voices are powerful. YOU can effect change at the University of Iowa.
Wishing you a wonderful 2017.