TUA kickoff invites prospective members, plans passion projects

Lindsay Ruhl and Ellie Cowen

TUA update
TUA delegates met with students and discussed future projects — including a headshot Photo Booth and CrawFest composting — during their kickoff event on Tuesday night. (Will Embree)

The Tulane Undergraduate Assembly — TUA — delegates gathered in the Lavin-Bernick Center on Tuesday to meet with students interested in student government and discuss the organization’s future plans.

TUA is Tulane University’s new form of student government, replacing Undergraduate Student Government — USG — which aims to support the Tulane population, but specifically BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students. 

After previous accusations of racism within USG, TUA delegates plan to prioritize student advocacy. Co-chair DaSean Spencer said he recognizes the importance of starting anew.

“Because this is a new organization, getting things right in the beginning is going to be really important to make sure that we don’t fall back into some past practices, some former models of student government,” Spencer said. “That’s multifaceted when it comes to having events like this where you’re actually meeting the student body where they want to meet you.”

Delegate Mack Mackovich said TUA is trying to implement values of democracy, diplomacy and inclusivity.

“So far, our goals have been just establishing what TUA is supposed to be,” Mackovich said. “TUA is not a continuation of USG. We want to be more progressive in student government because, from what I’ve heard, the previous student government was very backward, very corrupt.”

TUA has already passed the Divestment Act, aimed to denounce Tulane’s investment in fossil fuels. 

“Many of those who invest in our school are actually oil tycoons or CEOs of big fossil fuel companies, and we want them to know that we don’t support Tulane’s investment,” Mackovich said. “Tulane touts itself as a very green, very forward-thinking school, but if they do something like that, it’s basically the opposite.”

Delegate Luke Broussard is on the Equity Diversity and Inclusion committee and said he looks forward to hearing from students and professors of color. 

“My goal would be to establish roots and start establishing relationships,” Broussard said. “This is our first semester doing all this. I think that the first years are an important role because we’re going to be the first class to hopefully see it all the way through as a first cohort. I’m trying to take it slow and get settled, so I can really tap in for the next three years and hope to see it reach its full potential.” 

Each delegate has a passion project they are expected to complete or make significant progress on during the semester. Spencer is working to put a photo booth in the LBC for students to take headshots for organizations and opportunities that require them. 

“[Headshots are] not always super accessible to everyone,” delegate and junior Gabrielle Reese said. “So, we’re hoping this will help diminish some of the gaps between students having access to these types of resources.”

Mackovich is on the Sustainability and Divestment committee and plans to implement a composting station for Crawfest.

“Crawfish, even after they’ve been eaten, are compostable because they’re living things,” Mackovich said. “That’s never been done in the past, and it’s something we want to look at now. We also want to plan a lot of Earth Day events.” 

Delegates expressed their enthusiasm for their respective projects and being part of such substantial changes to student government. 

“It’s really cool creating something new with our cohort, and being the first assembly is an honor,” Reese said. “We get to try to create an assembly that will set a precedent for many years to come.”

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