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Nadeen Saqer

The student body elected junior Michael Lewis president of the Undergraduate Student Government Wednesday.

Students also elected representatives to the rest of the USG executive board. The new board is planning for the coming year.

Lewis said he plans on making major structural reforms to the way USG conducts meetings and handles budgeting of student organizations. He wants to strengthen the councils, which represent the more than 300 organizations at Tulane.

“Right now, some of the councils don’t meet, council chairs weren’t elected, and some don’t have constitutions, or if they do, we can’t find them,” Lewis said. “CACTUS is a good example of a strong council. If councils are strengthened effectively, we want council chairs to make budget presentations, as opposed to having the individual organizations present them.”

Sophomore Anna Nguyen, who was elected executive vice president in Wednesday’s elections, will mainly work on internal USG affairs. She said she will pursue the institution of constitutions for all councils.

“A lot of times we run into a wall with an organization, and we don’t know what to do because there are no written guidelines,” Nguyen said.

Besides changing the way councils are run, Lewis wants to change the way the USG runs its meetings.

“My philosophy for meetings is that the work should be done in committees, and it should be like a Senate instead of parliamentary procedure,” Lewis said. “Ideally, the discussion would be done during committee meetings, and then the meetings can be for voting, but that will only happen if people go to committees.”

Lewis and the executive board have met to outline other goals for the semester that will affect the student body as a whole, instead of just making USG meetings more efficient. One of these recent changes is last semester’s addition of the vice president of academic affairs position.

“The problem to begin with was the VP for student life had too much on their plate,” Lewis said. “Having balance on the executive board will help address academic issues.”

Catherine Ordeman, the newly elected vice president for student affairs, said she is determined to address academic issues that students face.

“Our short-term goals are to get a permanent gender and sexuality studies professor for the fall and to lower printing costs in the library,” Ordeman said. “Our longer term goals are to extend the study period before finals and to renovate the Dixon recital halls and McAllister Auditorium.”

Overall, USG wants to interact more with the student body.

“I’m really looking forward to talking to organizations and working with members of the community,” Lewis said. “I really want to help make student government a positive environment that students want to attend.”

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