USG prepares for a semester racked with uncertainty, change and hope


Kamilla Sharipova | The Ticker

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

Since classes started on Aug. 25, Baruch College’s Undergraduate Student Government has been getting back into gear, with its first Senate meeting happening on Aug. 31 over Zoom.

The Ticker spoke to USG President Alison Lee through email to discuss the government’s plans and goals for the upcoming semester and year.

USG is Baruch’s student government system that has the authority to create and implement campus initiatives — an old example of which are the installation of water bottle refilling stations in the Newman Vertical Campus, which was an idea formed by past members of USG —plan events, co-sponsor with clubs and approve club budgets, among other things.

Before the pandemic, USG was known to hold in-person events nearly every week, at times more than once a week, and to have a large presence in club life in general. Nowadays, all USG events and meetings are held virtually.

The organization also promotes itself as a space for new students to make new friends, to become acquainted with the school and to get involved with campus life.

“Undergraduate Student Government is a student run organization that’s here to help, you guessed it, students,” Lee said. “We do a little bit of everything, ranging from events, donation/charity drives (canned goods, textbooks), rallies, and working to improve our school. We’re always here as a resource and the entire USG team is so friendly, so we’re always open for any questions as well regarding classes, professors, or just overall advice.”

Lee said that the main goal for the semester is to help students voice their concerns to the school administration, which has been a challenge due to the sheer number of students that attend Baruch.

“Our team plans of focusing on really listening to the voices of our students,” she told The Ticker. “USG has always been the bridge between the students and the administration, and we want to especially divulge time to strengthen this bridge during a hybrid year. We have students who are going through so many different circumstances, we can only hope to bring whatever resources, networking, and help to cover all bases.”

In terms of specific plans to successfully reach this goal, Lee recalled a past USG initiative from the 2019-2020 school year to have QR codes placed around campus so students can easily report issues to USG.

All a student would have to do is scan the code on the placard with their phone. Then, they would be taken to a form on which they could report things like damage on campus.

“Specifically, we’re hoping to implement more ways to directly and efficiently receive help such as a Comment Box/QR Code Form where students will be able to voice their concerns about campus life, as well as possibly a ‘hotline’ of sorts for urgent needs, such as Zoom Bombings or not being able to locate your professor when class has already started,” Lee said about USG’s current initiative.

As for updates to the school community, Lee addressed the subject of in-person events, which has been a hot-button issue among clubs.

“As of right now, all events are still virtual,” she said. “We’re hoping to have in person events too like many of our other students, but our number one priority is making sure we can keep everyone safe.”

Classes, however, are in-person for some students, Lee said, adding that all students entering campus must be fully vaccinated. A negative test will no longer suffice.

Lee also spoke to The Ticker about her transition into USG president during the pandemic. The new USG staff took over during the summer.

She explained that although it’s been difficult due to the remote setting, the team is ready to work.

“I’m definitely still learning and getting the hang of things, but I have my USG alumni to thank, specifically Dakshatha Daggala, the USG president for 2019 – 2020. With her help I was able to navigate and learn how a USG year is like both in person as well as virtual,” she said.

“The hardest part of the transition through the pandemic was keeping not just myself but my team motivated. It’s rough in a virtual setting and burnout is real, so making sure we can provide an encouraging and safe space for our team to work and create will really help further the developments for the rest of the school as well.”

Any student who is interested in learning what goes on at USG Senate meetings is welcome to attend the weekly meetings, which start at 5:30 p.m., or can read about them in The Ticker’s weekly USG Senate Column.

“USG is a family, a community of people who want to make change and see improvements throughout Baruch,” Lee said. “We are a group of ambitious, passionate, and caring students who not only want to see our institution thrive, but more importantly our fellow students.”