LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 30, 2011) - Welcome back students! With the first full week of class under way, I’m sure there are many new and familiar emotions starting to surface. As an upperclassman, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic at seeing the new students on campus rush from class to class wide-eyed, hoping to find their way to what seems to be the only building not on the campus directory. Both new and returning students may be feeling a mix of apprehension and excitement as their schedules rapidly fill up with homework and a multitude of various activities that the University offers. These first few weeks are a period of transition for all of us, whether it be from starting out as a freshman who finds him or herself the youngest in a school with 27,000+ students, a transfer student who wants to find a foothold in an unfamiliar place, or a new senior who felt as if the last few years went by in the blink of an eye. These transitions can be difficult ones, and your Student Government wants to let you know that we are here not only to help make these transitions as smooth as possible, but to experience them right along with you.
Those of you who were involved in K Week already learned a little bit about what makes the University of Kentucky such a special place to be, as you experienced everything from the great Wildcat Pride during Big Blue U to the many organizations on campus in the Student Involvement Fair. At many of these events, you may have seen members of SGA joining in the fun, as well as the TallyCats team swiping student IDs so that you can score swag. From K Week alone, twenty-five students won multiple prizes including an ipod and a free semester of books! In order to win in the future, make sure you come out to as many TallyCats events as possible and don’t forget to swipe. Our next event is the Hangover 2, put on by SAB’s Cheap Seats at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at Worsham Theater in the Student Center. To find out about more events, check out http://uknow.uky.edu/calendar and select TallyCats to see our full calendar. Be sure to stop by! After an event, also make sure to head to http://www.tallycats.com and login with your LinkBlue ID to check your point totals and learn more about the program.
For all freshman who are looking to become more involved on campus, be sure to sign up for the Freshman Leadership Development Program, which was created by Student Government in order to create opportunities for freshman to work with members from various campus organizations and to hone their leadership skills in the process. Applications for the program are due by Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. so don’t procrastinate! Freshman can find more information or apply online under the “Applications & Resources” tab at http://uksga.org, SGA’s personal website. The website is getting a new look soon, so be sure to keep checking it out for more news and updates about our other programs created for students.
One of these programs that is in its second semester on campus is the UK Cats Cruiser, created by the Student Government to ensure student safety while traveling on and off campus during weekend nights. The Cats Cruiser service began on Aug. 25, 2011 this semester, with the same routes created last semester. A detailed description of these routes can be found online at http://uksga.org/programs-services/catscruiser, and hours of operation are from 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Last semester, this service had well over 7,000 riders, and we are looking to surpass that number this semester. For the future of this program, GPS installation and the development of a Cats Cruiser mobile app is currently in the works. If you need a safe ride on weekends, make it Cats Cruiser!
Student Government also has programs to help any UK students who have children and are in need of financial assistance with daycare. Student Government Childcare Grant applications become available on Friday, Sept. 9 and are due on Friday, Sept. 23. We know being a student is not easy – being a parent and a student doubles that challenge. These grants, awarded each semester by SGA, demonstrate our commitment to providing additional funding and resources to students that need assistance caring for their children while they attend class. The grants are limited in number and are awarded according to a demonstrated need by the student. Apply by visiting www.uksga.org and clicking on the Applications & Resources tab. If there are any questions, please stop by our office or call (859) 257-3191.
Student Government’s newest service this year is the Wildcat Interest Group, a student lobbying program created to bring student interests to life in Frankfort and Washington D.C. WIG includes multiple student ambassadors who will speak directly to State Representatives on the students’ behalf. Part of this program is an initiative called “Wildcats in Washington,” which will help UK students find available internships and housing in D.C. for those who are interested in becoming future ambassadors for our University and the great State of Kentucky.
As you can see, we’re working hard to ensure the needs of students are met and we are always looking for students to help us out. If you have something you’re passionate about changing, stop by and let’s have a conversation about it. Our door is always open and we are here to advocate on your behalf. Let’s work together to ensure that our community of students has the best experience possible and that all of our interests are voiced. I look forward to seeing you in the near future at TallyCats events and all the other great programs our university organizations offer. Go Cats!
Student Body President