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Greetings!

Let me begin by introducing myself. I am Jason Gonzales, the director of media relations for the University of Colorado Student Union.

This editorial space will be dedicated to UCSU every other Monday for the rest of the year, so watch for it.

If you are unfamiliar with what UCSU is, here is a quick rundown: UCSU is CU-Boulder’s autonomous student government. Thanks to our autonomy agreement, we answer only to the students and the Regents.

UCSU oversees a $34 million budget generated by student fees and other revenue for the operation of several cost centers– programs fully funded by student fees — and student services. Some of the cost centers it oversees are the UMC and the Recreation Center, and services such as Night Ride.

UCSU is governed by a student-adopted Constitution and is run by three branches (similar to the U.S. government): the executive, legislative and judicial branches. UCSU also serves as a liaison between the student body and the university administrators.

I hope that gives you a quick rundown of who we are. However, more important than what UCSU is, is what it does for you. UCSU serves as a liaison to the students and works to meet the needs of the student body.

It is, essentially, here to serve you, in as many ways as possible.

UCSU works on many initiatives campus-wide like helping the campus go green, organizing Homecoming and creating safe spaces for diversity.

The UCSU executive office is also closely following and hoping to push Congress to pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act with help from UCSU’s Legislative Council. The act will decrease loan interest rates and provide more money that is available to students. According to the act’s Web site, “It will help (the U.S.) reach (Obama’s) goal of producing the most college graduates by 2020 by making college accessible and transforming the way our student loan programs operate.”

With Colorado being 49th in the union in higher education funding, UCSU is pushing for any type of help that can be given to students to become working professionals.

To learn more, visit http://edlabor.house.gov/blog/2009/07/student-aid-and-fiscal-respons.shtml.

UCSU also strives to be a good neighbor to the Boulder and Denver-area communities. During the weekend of the Rocky Mountain Showdown, UCSU staff teamed up with Colorado State University’s student government to volunteer at Urban Peak, an organization that works to help youth overcome homelessness and set them on the right path in life.

As well, the UCSU tri-executives are seeking to gain support for the DREAM Act. Under that act, “undocumented young people could be eligible for a conditional path to citizenship in exchange for a mandatory two years in higher education or military service.” There are many provisions in the act that will benefit not only those who have lived here undocumented their whole life, but also the United States.

I encourage everyone to read up on the DREAM Act at dreamact.info

I cannot emphasize it enough: First and foremost, UCSU is here to serve the students. In return, we ask that you get involved, be engaged and be good citizens on this campus and in Boulder. So please, if you see us around campus, say hi.

Get to know your tri-executives — Tom Higginbotham, Daniel Ramos and Christine Thai. Attend a Legislative Council meeting on Thursday nights. Make your voice heard and vote during student elections.

We are a school of pride and we hope that you enjoy your time on this campus. I wish you the best of luck this year and throughout your time here.

Jason Gonzales, the director of media relations for the University of Colorado Student Union.

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