More on branches: http://cusg.colorado.edu/content/about-cusg-0
CUSG staff and office hours: http://cusg.colorado.edu/officers
Legislative Council: Thursdays at 7 p.m. in UMC 247.
All joint boards overseeing Cost Centers have meetings open to the public. Find out more about Cost Centers and meeting information: http://cusg.colorado.edu/content/university-colorado-cost-centers.
Finance Board: Tuesdays at 5:15 p.m. in UMC 425. Chair can make time for public input. Tri-Executive Chris Schaefbauer said Finance Board meetings are a great way to "find out where student fees go."
Looking for a place to ask questions, raise concerns or find out more about what's happening on the CU campus? CU Student Government (CUSG) tackles the issues and represents the interests of students at the university to the administration, city of Boulder and beyond.
Here's what you need to know to get involved or just be in the know:
Like the U.S. government, CUSG is composed of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. In the executive branch, three tri-executives hire a cabinet of student directors overseeing areas like safety and inclusion, health and CU's homecoming. Executives spearhead initiatives and "serve as the chief student spokespeople to the community and the university administration," according to the CUSG website.
Like Congress, Legislative Council consists of two houses: Representative Council, with nine members elected at-large from around CU, and the Council of Colleges and Schools, filled by representatives elected from each of the colleges within the university. Legislative Council considers, votes on and passes bills setting policies and allocating fees, as well as resolutions making statements on behalf of the student body.
The judicial branch interprets the constitution that governs CUSG and handles questions concerning student elections. The Appellate Court consists of seven student justices appointed by the executive branch and ratified by the Legislative Council. Justices serve on the court until they graduate.
Scope: Money, Cost Centers and more
Managing a budget of approximately $24 million generated by student fees, CUSG is "one of the largest student-run groups in the country, in terms of money," said Chris Schaefbauer, tri-executive and graduate student in computer science.
One of the centerpieces of the CUSG budget is Cost Centers.
"Cost Centers provide essential services for our students," Schaefbauer said. "They ensure that students have resources and support."
Cost Centers comprise over a dozen buildings and organizations prominent on the CU campus, including the University Memorial Center, Rec Center, GLBTQ Resource Center, Cultural Events Board and more. Each Cost Center is steered by a joint board of students and administrators who oversee operations.
Political power isn't the exclusive province of elected and appointed officials in CUSG. As constituents, students also have ways to make their voices heard. Legislative Council and Cost Center joint board meetings are open to the public. Students can also contact CUSG officials directly through appointments and office hours, or speak with office coordinators to get connected.
"The main office number (303-492-7473) is the best way to get directed to the right person," Schaefbauer said. "Students can also walk in, and [staff] will be there to answer questions and have an open dialogue."
Students looking to run for office can toss hats in the ring for the semesterly elections. Schaefbauer said candidates can expect more information for the fall election at the beginning of October.
First-year students have an opportunity to get involved in student government via Freshman Council. Freshmen apply and are selected around the time of the fall elections. Council members pick a field they're interested in, such as safety or student funding, and "team up with older members [of CUSG] as mentors," said Lauren Cross, director of communications and senior in political science and economics.
"Freshman Council is a boot camp for people who want to work their way up in Student Government," Cross said. "A lot of members go on to become part of Legislative Council and the executive board."
What's going on
Cross said CUSG's priority is "making sure students have access to all the amazing services CU has to offer." To be aware of these services and opportunities, students shouldn't tune out the consistent communications from Student Government.
"If we're bogging you down with emails and information, it's because we want you to know what's going on," Cross said. "Keep an eye out; there's good information in there."
Contact writer Adam Rowan at firstname.lastname@example.org.