Union Board town hall to invite more groups, participation

IU students will soon be able to air their concerns at a revamped version of last semester’s IU Student Association Town Hall meeting, this time sponsored by Union Board.

Last semester’s meeting was run by IUSA and Union Board and focused on the work of those organizations. This semester’s meeting will be in the form of a panel discussion and will consist of representatives from IUSA, the IU Student Foundation, Interfraternity Council, Union Board, PanHellenic Association, Board of Aeons and Residence Halls Association.

The meeting will be in the Indiana Memorial Union Georgian Room on March 29.
Student body president Kyle Straub said the format of the forum was changed to encompass the interests of more students and student organizations, and the focus will not be only on IUSA and Union Board.

“It’s more of a student leader Town Hall, more focused on broader issues across different groups,” Straub said.

IUSA Chief of Staff Augustin Ruta said the last town hall forum was beneficial to IUSA, which is why they felt it was important to repeat the event.

“Our big take-away was that there were maybe some issues that we needed to be focusing on that we didn’t pay as much attention to as we should have,” Ruta said.
Racial diversity at IU was one of the issues raised at the first meeting, Ruta said. After hearing the discussion at the meeting, he said, members of IUSA began meeting with the Diversity Student Advisory Board almost weekly to discuss diversity issues and plans for improving diversity at IU.

Karissa McKelvey, a member of the IU on Strike movement, said members of IUSA have already reached out to tell IU on Strike about the meeting. She said she is
excited to attend.

“It would be good to hear what IUSA is doing, and what we can say in response,” McKelvey said.

The IUSA election is scheduled to take place the Tuesday after the town hall meeting, and the next administration will take office less than a month later. Ruta said the purpose of the March meeting is not necessarily to shape the initiatives of the current administration, but rather to gauge what students want.

“One of the challenges is always keeping up with the new interests that will be coming up in the student body,” he said.

About 60 people attended the last town hall meeting, he said. He said they are hoping for a stronger turnout this time.

To facilitate this, IUSA is planning to advertise the meeting on social media. This semester’s meeting has not yet been announced on IUSA’s Twitter or Facebook pages. Ruta said they also plan to reach out to major student organizations on campus.

Josie Tanner, director of marketing at IU Dance Marathon, said she had not heard about the meeting yet, but that IUDM would probably send representatives.

“We love hearing about other organizations, we love building relationships with them,” she said. “It would be to learn more about other organizations, and if we can help them out in any way we would love to do that.”

Ruta said the meeting is meant to be a place for open discussion.

“We don’t want to steer the conversation in any certain way, we just want to have an ongoing conversation,” he said.

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