Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


SSFC considers solutions to low student engagement, representation

Only 3% of UW’s student population participated in spring 2023 student council election
Bennett Waara

University of Wisconsin Student Services Finances Committee met Monday to discuss various potential policy changes relating to student involvement.

The council first discussed the Visibility/Awareness Campaign which if enacted would promote student engagement with the Associated Students of Madison, UW’s student government.

Several concerns were brought up such as student election turnout rates being consistently low. In spring 2023, only 3% of UW students voted in the ASM election — the lowest turnout since 2007 — despite UW having its largest student population to date at the time of the election.


Other concerns brought up were minimal engagement in open forums at ASM and committee meetings, minimal discussion between representatives and a lack of student interest in how the university functions.

SSFC Rep. Aiden Culver said the consequences of this low engagement are student interests not being represented accurately, elected officials that do not equitably represent constituents and students not being aware or motivated by opportunities to engage with ASM.

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“What I’m looking at is not really having to do with our specific written policies,” Culver said. “It’s more of trying to look at how we can be more visible to all UW–Madison students.”

Representatives discussed potential solutions to the issue of low student engagement, like increasing activity on social media, hosting more events on campus to urge students to participate and displaying posters with meeting times to display in high traffic areas on campus.

This proposal is an ongoing discussion that will continue to be debated.

The next proposal was of adjustments to the Internal Attendance Policy. Rep. Saif Ahmed and Rep. Ryan Thiele had five points of discussion, but two topics had the longest debates.

The first topic was to improve equity by allowing those missing meetings to obtain permission during a conversation with the chair and advisor instead of a vote, in efforts to improve efficiency.

Currently, if a member fails to attend 75% of the meetings in a month, that member shall be put up for a vote of removal. SSFC meets twice a week during the semester — on Monday and Thursday.

The recommended change would allow representatives to schedule a meeting with the SSFC chair and ASM funding advisor to discuss their absences and continued commitment, including options such as leave of absence, resignation, or removal.

“While we think it’s nice that the member has an opportunity to defend their attendance record it’s important to note that the 75% missing of meetings includes both unexcused and excused,” Thiele said. “We think it would be more equitable for committee members to have an opportunity to sit down with the chair and the ASM funding advisor to discuss those absences.”

The second topic of interest Thiele and Ahmed brought up pertained to the attendance policy and redefining unexcused absences to improve equity and efficiency via accountability.

The main change proposed was to no longer identify class commitments as excused and permit members to have an excused absence for class examinations. Ahmed and Thiele also discussed changes to topics that the chair can deem excusable, like work commitments and commitments to other organizations.

These policies will be further adjusted and reviewed before a vote.

The SSFC will meet again at the Student Activity Center on East Campus Mall Thursday at 6 p.m.

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