USGA: Undergrad slackers governing activities

By on April 8, 2014

As a student returning to campus after time in the “real world” of corporate America it has been an eye opening experience to watch UAB “grow up” in these last few years.

Everything is changing. Most of these changes have been positive such as the booming construction across campus that will give us a new dorm, a parking deck and a student center.

However, some of these changes have been for the worse. I have spent more semesters at UAB than I care to admit, and yet I cannot remember a worse group of student government advocates.

Elections came and went over the last weeks with little presence on campus. A few signs dotted the Green. A couple balloons hovered around Heritage Hall.

When it was time to cast a vote there were only three places across campus to do this. Stations appeared at the Commons, Sterne Library and the Business and Engineering Complex.

I doubted that just these three locations can best serve the entire undergraduate community. Then I discovered that according to the Kaleidoscope’s March 18 center spread only 12 percent of eligible students participated in the 2012-2013 elections.

How does the USGA expect to raise interest, or even awareness, about their work across campus if they do not even advertise themselves?

Once these students are elected by their peers the question then becomes what do these elected officials even do besides padding their resumes?

There are four main events the USGA hosts annually. The fall semester includes a “backyard barbeque” meet-and-greet at the beginning of the school year and a student forum. The spring semester also includes a forum and plus elections for the following academic year.

I admit I missed the October barbeque, but I observed the November 5 fall forum had lukewarm success. The event focused mainly on repercussions of not currently having a university center. A few students voiced concerns over limited dining options, study space, and a lack of ATMs on campus.

While any issues involving food and money are important the event was poorly organized and featured fewer attendees than the tightly paced 2013 spring forum.

This is nothing compared to the absolutely awful job done to advertise the 2014 spring forum. Announcements were made for the March 18 forum at 4:51 pm. This notice was broadcasted a mere nine minutes before the event started. I find such behavior intolerable and inexcusable for anyone over the age of 14.

It is true that the snowstorms, all three of them unnatural, upended the spring academic calendar. A single storm forced our entire city to close for nearly a week.

One skidding car blocked another and another revealing our regular commuter traffic jams. Ice, sleet and snow compounded the problem until every available route was first gridlocked and then abandoned as citizens slowly struggled home by other means.

I compared this, like so many others did, to AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead.” The 2013-2014 USGA moved through this school year with the same clarity and preparation of those brain-dead zombies.

Meanwhile the USGA calendar remains as lifeless as a “walker” put down by the likes of Michonne or Daryl.

See for yourself at

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About Alyssa Mitchell

Hello! I’m Alyssa Mitchell, or am for short, and I’m into graphic design and media arts. Generating bright ideas. Some things you should know about me is that I love to paint and take photographs. I still read tactile books. I like the feel of the paper between my fingers. My favorite forms of exercise include swimming, scuba diving, kick boxing, and running near my apartment in Five Points. No run could be complete without a playlist, especially considering I was a deejay for four years. Before I made the switch to graphic design I was editor of the Kaleidoscope in 2009. I am committed to keeping environmental practices. I have a passion for travel: to explore new places and to discover life in different cultures. More recently you can find my infographic poster in the 2011 Adobe Design Achievement Awards semifinalist gallery, and it took second at both the 2012 Birmingham AIGA Emerging Designers Showcase and the 2010 Birmingham AIGA Salon Des Refuses Show. My packaging project entitled Split Milk brought me my first Gold ADDY, a place in Core77's Design Awards, and is featured on the French Paper Co.’s Run of the Mill blog. My first time out at the ADDYs I took home a shiny silver trophy in alternative advertising.
  • Jerome

    So you’re upset that students didn’t support an organization that exists merely to hold barbecues? I find it admirable that student participation was so low. There’s no need to blow smoke up these elected ‘leaders’ bum.

    Surely there’s something more important for you to write about…

    • Alyssa

      Thanks for the read! I agree with you. Why should students support them if all they are going to do is hold BBQs? What they are supposed to be doing is benefiting the student body by drawing attention at the forums of campus problems, but attendance will continue to be low without publicity.

  • John

    It would have helped if the president did his job. I simply saw a figure head that didn’t know what he wanted to do after the 2 years of campaigning for a vote.

    Maybe what needs fixed is the election process so that someone with a successful track record can get the position rather than the one who rallied the most people to vote.

  • Jack

    Great post! I admire your honesty. I think you bring up numerous valid points.

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