The University of St. Thomas’ Student Government has begun its work for the fall semester virtually, and according to Senate Vice President Rosa Sotelo, the organization has prioritized solving issues the COVID-19 pandemic has created for UST students.
“I thought it would be a good idea to have a temporary COVID-19 committee so that senators could best see how to serve the students during this time,” Sotelo said. “I think it is important to support students during this pandemic academically, and mentally, because it has been difficult for everyone.”
The committee held its first meeting on Sept. 14.
Sotelo said the committee aims to provide students with relief options such as giving out groceries to those who are in need of them.
For now, though, the COVID-19 Committee Chair Sylvia Ruiz said the committee has chosen to focus on specific groups of students in order to stay within its budget.
One new piece of legislation, for example, would give aid to UST’s nursing students if passed.
“We thought of creating bags filled with supplies such as masks, hand sanitizers, cleaning spray and wipes as a form of giving back to the nursing students who have been working so hard during this pandemic,” Ruiz said.
Other plans would be aimed at larger groups.
“We have the similar idea of giving out bags full of personal protection equipment to the whole University community, and holding a raffle for a number of parking permits for more students,” Ruiz said.
The committee has also begun to plan for the 2021 spring semester. One proposed piece of legislation would help offset student financial concerns with a school supplies raffle.
“We have some pretty good ideas thus far; everyone is just focusing on [the nursing student] idea to see if it will pass legislation or not,” Ruiz said.