2019-2020 Student Association End of Term Report Linked Here
Our goal as a Student Association Team for 2019-2020 was to find ways in which we could make the SA more inclusive, collaborative, and open so that we could better serve student needs as they arose. The following is the mission of the Student Association, where the Student Association Executive Team bolded the phrases most important to our team’s goals: “The mission of the Student Association shall be to give every student the opportunity to shape the undergraduate experience. To this mission, the Student Association shall provide channels of communication and cooperation among all parts of the Rice community, provide a form of government for the coordination of student activities, provide a forum for the expression of student views and interests, maintain academic freedom and academic responsibility, enhance the value of the Rice undergraduate experience, and promote national and international understanding”. Referencing these highlighted parts of the mission and our goals as a team, we came to the following vision for the year: “The Student Association strives to facilitate open discourse, foster purposeful collaboration, and champion student innovation.” This vision has guided us as we have worked to improve how the SA operates this year to better support our many student populations.
The External Objectives were created to help the 2019-2020 Student Association carry out its vision, knowing that students should be our source of advocacy topics. Utilizing the Spring Survey of all Students question “What should the Student Association focus on in its next year”, we read through thousands of student submissions and organized them by issue area. The Executive Team was able to categorize these responses under 5 main topic areas: Access, Diversity, and Inclusion, Academic Excellence and Opportunity, Critical Engagement with Houston, Culture of Care, Student Health and Wellbeing, and Sustainability. Organizing under this framework provided necessary guidance for what the SA should take on over the next year, and challenged each SA member to think about how they could meaningfully contribute. It was also a useful framework for communicating what the SA was doing to both the greater student body as well as administrators, ranging from the Board of Trustees to the Vice Presidents of the University and President David Leebron. We encourage future SA leaderships to maintain clear objective areas derived from student interest, as they show that the SA works for the greater student population and is taking their issues seriously. A mission-driven SA is a powerful SA that can better fight for student needs.
Under the External Objectives framework, the 2019-2020 Student Association accomplished: 43 advocacy projects, 11 temporary committees chartered with seven delivering final reports, and 15 resolutions amongst ongoing discussions as a Senate and amongst individual groups of Presidents and Senators. This was done all the while handling several significant crises that arose over the course of this year and that are documented in this report. We are so proud of what this team was able to accomplish, and cannot wait to see what the 2020-2021 Student Association Team has in store.
Student Association President 2019-2020, Grace Wickerson