Hamline News

HUSC Gained Momentum During the Fall Semester

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The Hamline Undergraduate Student Congress (HUSC) had a busy fall semester, making policy changes that will impact the campus community in many ways.

HUSC is Hamline University’s student government, guided by its leaders President Andrew Weston and Vice President Dieu Do. HUSC administers funds to student organizations and its main responsibility is to be a bridge between the student body and faculty, staff, and administration, making sure students’ voices and needs are heard. HUSC leadership regularly talk with university officials but the most powerful communication channel for the body lies in resolutions. Voting on and passing resolutions is a necessary procedure for HUSC to influence Hamline University at an institutional level.

The council voted to pass several significant resolutions in the fall 2019 semester. Two specific resolutions discussed funding of iPads for the Food Resource Center and tuition increases. A broader resolution marked the first step in making Hamline one of the only Reconciling Universities in the country. A Reconciling University is a Methodist-affiliated institution that explicitly welcomes and celebrates people of all gender identities, sexual orientations, and gender expressions in conjunction with Reconciling Ministries Networks. Passing the resolution aligns Hamline University with Methodist congregations in the United States.

HUSC also passed a resolution that is especially pertinent to members of our campus community. To quote the resolution itself, HUSC calls for “prioritizing the immediate creation of one fully accessible, non-gendered restroom per academic building on campus and at minimum, one fully accessible men’s and one fully accessible women’s restroom per academic building on campus.”

Full accessibility includes fully-automated features, such as automated soap dispensers, paper towels, sink and toilet flushing mechanisms, door openers, ADA height toilets, etc.

The resolution is a step toward ensuring that all students have access to a safe and comfortable place to go to the bathroom. Its passage marks the successful conclusion of a multiyear conversation within HUSC.

“Exceeding my expectations is such an understatement. I would say that my council accomplished more in one semester than I ever thought HUSC could for the next two years,” said Vice President Do. “I am beyond ecstatic to see what our organization will achieve after this year.”

In addition to the passage of resolutions, HUSC also added a statement to their bylaws committing to sexual violence prevention. The new wording provides actionable steps that HUSC will take to prevent sexual violence. These include Step Up Training and other measures to raise awareness of ways to increase safety for all community members.

“It [the bylaw amendment] was created to ensure HUSC is committed to Sexual Violence Prevention long into the future,” said HUSC Student Organizations Chair Ray Doss. “Soon, it will be incorporated into all HUSC-chartered student organizations’ bylaws, securing a larger commitment to sexual violence prevention on our campus.”

HUSC also co-hosted a Diversity Summit with Multicultural Alliance, chartered two student organizations, and funded a number of opportunities for student empowerment and education including abroad opportunities and organizations’ events.

“Of everything that HUSC has accomplished this semester, there are not enough words in any language to express how proud I am of our council of representatives and executive board members,” said Do. “I have been a part of this organization for almost three years, and I have never seen a group of people more dedicated, driven, and passionate about doing good for not only our Hamline community, but our Hamline-Midway neighborhood, our St. Paul community, and Twin Cities communities as a whole.”

In fact, this year’s HUSC membership is civically engaged at all levels, even off-campus. A few serve as board members for community coalitions, others work for St. Paul council members, some serve in the capital as interns, and one works for the Governor of Minnesota. Indeed, the policy changes these leaders enacted on campus indicate their potential for impact in the wider world.

To those looking to be more involved in HUSC, come to a HUSC General Assembly (GA), hosted every Tuesday during the regular semester over convocation hour (11:30-12:30) in West Hall 240. At GA, members of the council and any member of the student body attending discuss campus issues and what role they want HUSC to take, listen to guest speaker presentations from various departments both on and off-campus, and at times listen to and vote on resolution proposals. Everyone is welcome to attend GA.

To read the entire text of the resolutions, contact President Andrew Weston at huscpres@hamline.edu. 

1/24/2020

Written by Autumn Vagle