Joining USG By– Nate Lightle

     This school year has been a year of taking action for me. I became an LDP Mentor, Baja President, and most recently joined the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) as a Senator. My motivations for joining LDP and Baja were simple: both of these organizations are going to impact me directly and make me a better future engineer by improving both my soft skills and my problem solving capabilities. USG, on the other hand, does not have that direct correlation. I have no plans to become a politician, and I personally try to avoid getting into political discussions or arguments since I prefer dealing with certainties and facts rather than opinions and grey areas. Despite my general avoidance of politics, I somehow found myself being sworn into a Senator position last week to do the exact debating and problem solving I attempt to avoid. I can easily trace my motivations for this decision, whenever I find myself in a discussion over legislation or funding, I can draw back on my main motivation to keep me going forward: to make a difference on our campus.

     At the end of last semester, Lincoln Kinley needed a proxy to sit in on a USG meeting for him. I volunteered to fill that seat as he went off to a robotics competition.  In this one meeting, my eyes were opened to this new world filled with student Senators who had the authority to award money and inform everyone in SIU as to what is going on around them on campus. The meeting took roughly three hours and only stopped because they kicked us out of the building. At that point, and I was awestruck at how slowly the meetings ran. It also surprised me to see how RSO’s that actually deserve funding were not able to obtain any because of poor requests. My goal as a USG Senator and member of the Funding Board is to ensure that all of the student organizations looking for meaningful funding receive it. Whether it’s an Engineering, College of Science, or other RSO, if the planned event will change student’s lives or the community, they deserve the USG funding.