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SA Senators to hold town hall meetings for residents

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Student Association wants to hear from you.

The organization has plans to increase the number of town halls held throughout the year, with a goal of better engaging the student body, according to Sean Correia, chair of the Constituent Relations committee.

The Committee is required to host two town hall meetings a year, according to SA bylaws.
Correia, however, plans to host one town hall per living area and a series of special topic town halls throughout the year.

“Senators and the Student Association, in general, tend to forget that we are an advocacy-based organization and that’s what we need to do and that’s what we need to go back to,” Correia said.

The idea was praised by members of the Student Associations senate, including Brandon Holdridge, senate chair.

“As student representatives, we want to get out there and educate the campus as to what we do and educate them in any way we can by having these town hall meetings,” Holdridge said.

Town halls for State and Indian Quads are set to take place between Nov. 12 and 16.

Three special topic town halls, which are scheduled for after Thanksgiving break, will focus on environmental sustainability, LGBTQIA+ issues, and campus diversity.

The town halls will give SA the opportunity to better understand the issues faced by students, according to Correia.

“We will get a higher response rate and a better picture of what issues students have which makes our jobs easier when it comes to targeting administrators on issues on campus that we want to address,” he said.

Attendance at town hall events has been low in the past. To combat this, the Constituent Relations committee plans to not only promote the events on social media but hopes to notify the students directly.

The Committee has created a Gmail account where students send concerns and set up appointments to attend the committee’s weekly meetings.

In addition, SA can now notify students of upcoming events through Remind101, a text service linked to the Constituent Relations newly established Gmail account.

Students can also send any questions, concerns, and suggestions directly to SA through the service, according to Zak Constantine, a State Quad senator and the ranking member of Constituent Relations committee.

“We wanted to increase accessibility and the ease of ways for students to get in contact with us,” Constantine said of the idea to establish a direct line of communication between the Committee and students.

Issues brought up to the Constituent committee this year include concerns with the health center, Residential Life, and university’s proposal to hold classes on Jewish holidays next year, according to Correria.

Earlier this year, the Albany Student Press reported that the University had plans to hold class on several religious holidays in order create a more predictable academic calendar that better aligns with other universities and colleges.

Though no final decision has been made, the plans have received backlash from students and religious organizations on campus.

Correia is hoping that other SA senators will not only promote the weekly town halls but make an effort to come out in the future.

“Seven people can’t represent 14,000, that’s why there’s 49 of us,” he said.

The Constituent Relations committee meets Tuesday from 8 to 10 p.m. in the conference room located behind the SA office.

Students seeking to contact the committee can email uasaconstituent@gmail.com, or text “UA student” to 81010.

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