The Student Government Association Executive Council (SGAEC), which serves as the official liaison between the student body at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) had the opportunity recently to meet with Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, and Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE.
The meeting was held in the Student-Alumni Center, and allowed student leaders representing each of the colleges at UTHSC to discuss their main goals for the year and learn about future campus initiatives from Chancellor Schwab and Dr. Brown.
The student leaders presented their goals, which included initiatives such as creating a smoke-free and more environmentally friendly campus, evaluating the dental and vision insurance options for students and restructuring the campus improvement fund allotment process. In addition to discussing their major goals for the university this year, the students were given the opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics affecting current and future students. Building sustainability, construction and student stances on current events were some of the topics raised and addressed.
Chancellor Schwab mentioned a new renovation contract that will be used for the General Education Building to update much-needed areas, including replacement of windows and doors with more energy efficient models. On a separate note, Chancellor Schwab emphasized the importance of safety on campus and that some of that responsibility is on students to ensure that they don’t let anyone into buildings without a proper UTHSC ID badge.
The meeting also included information about the new simulation center and how the learning environment will bring all of the colleges together in one building to work in real-world, simulation settings as a collaborative team.
The SGAEC discussed restructuring the process of the Student Campus Improvement Fund allotments and how they would like to evaluate what the funds are used for and follow the progress of the improvements as they are being completed. It was mentioned that a recent survey was sent out to all students to encourage feedback and ensure students have a voice in how the funds are being spent.
Lee Pribyl, SGAEC president, addressed the need to include dental and vision insurance options in the student health care insurance plan to promote total health care for students. “As a health science center, one of our priorities should be to provide the best health care options for our students,” Pribyl said. “By including dental and vision insurance into a health care package, we are encouraging students to take care of themselves in all possible ways.”
A main theme for the SGAEC was addressing how students could become more involved in the future plans and changes on campus. Students also asked how they could voice concerns to the administration on topics, such as construction noise or new technical improvements. Dr. Brown encouraged all students to contact them if they have an idea about anything or a concern, either as a representative of the student government body or as an individual.
The Office of Student Life provides support to the SGAEC, their programs and through campus collaborations. Together, both provide student support and administrative representation for all students at UTHSC.