A proposal for a new school, changes to housing policies, expanded dining options and better care for students’ mental well-being were among the topics discussed at Student Government’s first meeting of the spring semester.
UTD President David Daniel spoke about a proposal for a new Arts and Technology and Emerging Media and Communication school. The new school, tentatively called the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, would take 1,300 students from the School of Arts and Humanities and provide better programs for these majors.
The student affairs committee chair, Katie Truesdale, discussed a new mental health initiative. UTD is working with the National Alliance for Mental Illness to better provide students with help and access to mental well-being. Students can expect a larger network of professionals to help with stress and other issues.
A new housing policy will put student resident dollars to better use by reallocating deposit money directly toward rent. Students currently pay a $50 non refundable fee with a $150 refundable deposit to live on campus. New campus residents will have to pay a $75 non refundable fee, but instead of a deposit, a prepayment of $400 that will go toward first month’s rent.
“The new policy changes were made so that the students aren’t having to pay the $150 that just goes to the school until you stop living on campus,” said Residential Student Affairs Committee Chair Akshita Padigela. “This way, the residents can pay that money when they sign up for housing-usually March or April-and have a cushion in August or so when they are also paying for tuition, books, etc.”
Padigela also announced that the old dining hall next to the Student Union will undergo changes to become a food court-style service. Dining changes include longer hours and a full service Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and a Tomatoes. The current Chick-fil-A will be transformed into a Ben & Jerry’s.
Senators Club reward cards will now be implemented to bring more students to SG meetings. A student’s card can be stamped each meeting when minutes are collected to win T-shirts and other prizes. The Senate Club rewards card only requires students to swipe their Comet Card and record their attendance to validate participation.
The next SG meeting will be held on Feb. 3 at 5:15 p.m. in the Galaxy Rooms in the Student Union.