On Oct. 24, the University Affairs Committee met to discuss possible strategies to increase student engagement in student committees and to plan its upcoming public forum. UAC Chair Braedon Lehman directed the meeting, joined by student Senators Emily Korte, Brent Finkbeiner and Catherine Everett.
Of the approximately 40 total university administrative committees on campus which allow student participation, only seven currently have student involvement. This is an issue the UAC hopes to tackle with their upcoming public forum, to be run by Associated Students of Portland State University representatives. The panel will provide information to students about the goals of ASPSU, who and what the different department committees are, and how students can get involved.
“In an ideal world, I’d like to get a student involved in every administrative committee that has a slot,” Lehman said. “In the more practical world, I’d like to raise the number to half of the available seats.”
The upcoming forum will also have refreshments available and a question-and-answer session at the end. The official date and location of this event are still undecided, but is likely to occur in November.
As well as planning the forum, UAC is collecting contact details, member information and meeting times from all the committees to compose a more centralized platform. By conglomerating a single committee list, UAC hopes to make it as easy as possible for students to participate.
“I think students just don’t know that these committees are happening,” Korte said. “I think that’s the problem.”
UAC also plans to address the student senate about getting involved with the committees. The committee plans to make a pitch at the next senate meeting.
To get involved in a committee, students must submit an All-University Committee application through Orgsync. The form can be found at orgsync.com/13049/forms/32963.
Students can also contact Lehman directly with any questions about committee involvement by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries of all kinds are encouraged.
“This is how we build student power,” Finkbeiner said. “And it’s a way for students to have an active role in what happens at their university. Very real policy impacts happen because of these committees.”