Q&A: Maya Vasishth plans to increase student engagement with USG

USG Director of Student Engagement Maya Vasishth hopes to engage the student body more with USG and legislative processes.

Mandee Rae Photography

USG Director of Student Engagement Maya Vasishth hopes to engage the student body more with USG and legislative processes.

Junior Maya Vasishth, majoring in neuroscience and public health, is the first to hold the position of Director of Student Engagement for Undergraduate Student Government. In this position, Vasishth hopes to engage students with USG and the legislative processes.

What is your past experience with USG, and could you describe your current role? 

As a sophomore, I served as one of the three Freshman Leadership Program coordinators. We led a cohort of first-year students in the development and application of leadership skills and served as a mentor for them. The role of Director of Student Engagement is new this year. It was created to improve the accessibility of USG and better connect students to their USG representatives. My job is to plan events throughout the year to facilitate connections between USG members and their constituents and advertise the multiple avenues for involvement for students within USG.

What are your main goals for the year in terms of USG and student engagement in the program? 

My main goal is to get students at large more involved in USG either through identifying and connecting with their senators, participating in USG-sponsored events and sitting on committees, or providing feedback. There are so many ways to get involved in USG and I would love to see new faces participating! I want USG to be an accessible and transparent body working for and with the students.

How can students get involved in USG? 

The biggest way for students to get involved in USG is through sitting on a committee. USG has 10 committees that cover a range of topics related to life on campus. The Student Government Committee Fair on Sept. 6 from 11-2 p.m. is a great time for students to come see all the committees and find one that is right for them! The Freshman Leadership Program is an amazing opportunity for first-year students to get connected to resources on campus to effect change and develop their leadership skills. Applications for this are open now on the USG Orgsync page, and an information session is being held on Sept. 6 from 4-5 p.m. in the LBC Stibbs Room (LBC 203). USG will also be hosting events throughout first semester such as the Sexual Violence Prevention Town Hall and YELLBC.  USG members will also be tabling throughout first semester asking for students’ input on different aspects of our campus climate. Additionally, any student can co-author a piece of legislation with a senator. Senators would love to receive emails from students with their ideas on how to improve Tulane and work with them to make these changes possible and all of their information can be found on the Tulane USG website at tulaneusg.com. Students are also welcome to come to any senate meeting and speak at Student Forum. Elections for senate and the executive board occur each year in the spring.

What are the different committees that students can join? 

The committees are: Academic Affairs, Constitution & Bylaw Review Committee, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, Finance, Public Affairs, Student Body Administrative Council, Student Health Advisory, Student Life, Sustainability, and Student Safety. Emailing the committee head (which can be found on the USG website, tulaneusg.com) is the best way to get on a committee. The Finance committee is the only committee where students must apply. The Finance Committee is currently accepting applications which can be found on the USG Orgsync page.

What are the benefits for a student to be involved in student government? What are the benefits for the university if students are involved in USG? 

Being involved in USG is such an easy way to feel more connected on campus and to plug into a network of student leaders! Before being involved in student government, I didn’t realize that students just like me were working to make such instrumental changes on campus. Getting involved in USG made me more aware of what was happening on campus and vastly improved my college experience by giving me an outlet to help improve our campus. The student experience here at Tulane benefits from student voices and input is actively used to better cater this university to the students’ needs. Increasing student participation in the process will only improve the quality of legislation brought to the Senate floor and the representation in the senate body.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

If you are interested in getting involved, I encourage you to attend How TU USG on Sept. 10 from 5-7 p.m. in LBC 203 (Stibbs) to learn more about how USG is working to improve campus and how you can get involved! A great way to keep up with USG is through liking us on Facebook and adding us on Canvas. To add USG on Canvas, go to “Courses” then click “Browse New Courses,” and then search “Undergraduate Student Government.” Click on the course module, and then click join.

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