Tier One, one of the four tickets with presidential or vice-presidential candidates in the most contested Student Government election in UTD history, is running on a platform of improving transfer student experiences, increasing transparency and supporting the expansion of the Office of Student AccessAbility.
Biomedical engineering junior Trevor Schmaeling said he was motivated to run as SG president after serving as senator and hearing from students that their voices weren’t being heard.
Hope Cory, a public affairs junior, served as SG president at her prior institution, San Jacinto College in Houston, before transferring to UTD. She is running to serve as vice president under the Tier One ticket. Cory said she saw an underrepresentation of transfer students, veteran students and students with disabilities within SG and wanted to serve all students rather than certain populations only.
Schmaeling said they decided on “Tier One” as the name of their ticket because UTD is currently a “Tier One” research institution, designated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and that they wanted to apply this prestige to SG.
“We believe it’s time for SG to be Tier One, and what we mean by that is not only does student government hear all student voices, but it also represents all students,” Schmaeling said.
Cory said the current Quality Enhancement Plan — a document that identifies instititutional issues and formulates a plan to address them — focuses on transfer students and providing them with resources to better assimilate into campus life. Cory said while administration does a lot for transfer students, she felt that as SG, they had a responsibility to contribute.
“When a transfer student gets to campus, the hardest part for them is finding a place to belong, and as SG we want to create that for them and help them find a place to belong,” Cory said. “It doesn’t have to be SG, but we want to help them find that place and have them be able to say, ‘This is my UTD.’”
Cory said Tier One plans to create specific ad-hoc committees within SG to address certain issues with underserved populations and provide them with resources they need. Additionally, Tier One’s focus on increasing transparency involves recording SG meetings and providing monthly updates on SG affairs, Cory said.
“The point of this is to show students that SG, who reps the students, that we’re going to be representing them as well. We’re not just going to leave it up to the administration to take care of you,” Schmaeling said. “We want your voices in SG because we affect all student action and experiences on campus.”
Schmaeling said they plan to try and get SG social media platforms verified and create events to incentivize students to keep up with SG. He said that through increased communication, students will see the results of SG projects as they’re completed.
“I think the main issue is that students don’t know what SG is currently doing. It leaves some confusion between the students, the SG and the administration,” Schmaeling said. “The easiest way to increase transparency with the students is simply tell them the truth about what SG is doing. I think that would solve a lot of issues between students and administration is SG being the enforcer and the communicator between the two of them.”
Tier One’s platform also includes raising awareness about issues populations with disabilities have on campus.
“We just want better accessibility, and with the new OSA office there wouldn’t be as much of an issue,” Schmaeling said.
Schmaeling said he wants to increase student outreach and raise awareness about SG’s presence through social media outreach and meeting with students in person.
“I think just having that outreach with fellow students and letting them know that I’m not afraid to go up to (them) and talk to (them). I think … an issue with some SG senators is that there’s not really much outreach in going up to students, they just show up to SG and that’s it, and that’s not what we’re about,” Schmaeling said. “This isn’t a popularity contest. This is to represent students, so we need to treat it as that.”