The notion of student government is alive and thriving in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.
For Kendrea Williams, an Africana Studies major who graduates in August and the 2013-2014 Liberal Arts Student Council (LASC) president, student government provided an opportunity to serve and represent IUPUI students while also honing leadership skills.
“I wanted to be engaged with an organization that focused on supporting the students and their activities on campus and off campus, in addition to ensuring that the students had access to professional development opportunities and exposure to a diverse array of events,” Williams says.
Representatives from Liberal Arts student organizations make up the council, but all majors are welcomed to attend meetings and participate in discussions, committees, and voting. Meeting minutes are posted on the council’s On-Course site and Facebook page for those unable to attend.
Among the activities the LASC helped with throughout the past school year were co-sponsorship of guest speakers, participation in the redesigning course evaluations, and organization of special conversations for students with the dean and faculty.
During the 2013/14 school year the LASC also approved $30,000 in funding proposals from more than 40 student organizations. They supported diversity as a sponsor of Islamic Awareness Week, the Asian Heritage Celebration Dinner and the Native American Awareness Month; and provided students tickets for the Harvey Milk Dinner, MLK Jr. Dinner, and Caesar Chavez Dinner. They also helped fund undergraduate and graduate student attendance at regional and national conferences. Other popular activities included a team in the IUPUI Regatta and the ‘Stress-Free Zone’ each exam week. As they do each spring, the LASC also supported awards for the School’s outstanding advisor, mentor, and staff member.
“We support the School of Liberal Arts by serving on behalf of the students and being their voice when it comes to issues that affect the students,” says Williams. “This allows students to feel as though they are being heard and included as major stakeholders of the school.”
As a result of their efforts, LASC was named IUPUI’s outstanding student council of the year by the IUPUI Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and a Liberal Arts senator, David Paul (Sociology), was named the outstanding student senator. Paul led USG initiatives in sustainability and reinvigorating discussion about campus child care and honors program access for transfer students. Another LASC member, secretary Niki DaSilva (Sociology), organized and led a spring break trip to Washington D.C. on social justice issues for sociology and anthropology students. Elizabeth Asmaa Valencia, (Sociology), was also elected as the incoming LASC president.
“Many Liberal Arts students already actively participate in their communities and their professions,” says Amy Jones-Richardson, assistant director of recruitment, retention & academic services and the advisor. “LASC is one way to contribute directly to the quality of experience on campus. New students become familiar with resources and opportunities; returning students influence and initiate improvements. It’s a win-win situation: we gain awareness of issues students value while they gain leadership and organizing experience, as well as a sense of connection with the school and campus that continues well after they graduate.”
To become involved in LASC, visit their office in Cavanaugh Hall, room 243D, or contact them through Facebook (Liberal Arts Student Council at IUPUI). Meeting dates/times will be decided in August and posted on their website, on Facebook, and through listserv announcements.
Photo: Kendrea Williams, outgoing president of the Liberal Arts Student Council (LASC), helped guide the LASC to rewarding 2013/14 school year that included recognition as IUPUI’s outstanding student council of the year.