On Thursday, Feb. 6, President Ryan Specht of the Student Government Association on campus gave a very important message to his colleagues and to the public in his State of the University Address in the Legacy Room of the Dreyfus University Center.
As mentioned in Specht’s speech, the tradition of the President of the Student Government Association giving a State of the University Address had previously been a subject that was mainly obligatory, but it is now, under Specht’s presidency, being re-instituted as a form of principal communication toward, about, and for our student body.
Specht opened his address in showing us the progress that we made as a campus, particularly within the Student Government Association. By far, this organization is home to some of the most, if not the most, involved students on campus.
On average, a Student Government member is part of three committees within the governing student body. These members are also part of many other organizations on campus. Looking at 2013, Specht concluded that it was a busy time for this organization as they committed a recorded 3,100 hours total to our campus community.
Aside from the quantitative value of the organization, it was clear that there is also quality to be valued and quality yet to be reached for our student body.
“We are at a crossroads, and we have been for a few years now, but we’ve made a lot of progress,” Specht said.
Among the quality reached in the previous year, the Student Government Association successfully convinced the state that students should have control over their segregated fees. Specht also addressed the pleasures had with helping to instill a sense of sustainability on campus with the Green Fund.
Specht also announced the strides we made outside of the organization, as a student body. This was especially relevant as he addressed the incredible support we have for diverse groups on campus, particularly with LGBT.
It was clear, however, that there is still a lot to be achieved at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
“We need to reward students and faculty for outside class learning. We need to invest in advising to get students in and out in four years. We must prioritize,” Specht said.
Staying true to the Wisconsin Idea was a recurring theme throughout Specht’s speech as he addressed many a time that if we want to get something from our school, we have to put something into it and hold up our end of the Wisconsin Idea.
This Wisconsin Idea says, “The boundaries of the University are the boundaries of the state.” Specht spoke strongly on the importance of achieving public support and the realization that our campus walls extend past the street signs that corner our lecture halls.
Specht spoke about many campus issues including the extension of alumni support, the need for higher education funding, the increased realization of incoming campus diversity, a push toward rewarding students and faculty for outside learning and more. Specht’s overall goal is to help initiate a movement on campus to move forward with these goals so UWSP can be better for everyone.
A better campus for all may just be the push UWSP needs to make a better campus overall.