National Student Exchange, Pride Alliance and SHAC all discussed at Oct. 20 ASUA meeting

By Gabriella Vukelic | Published Originally by The Daily Wildcat

This week at the ASUA Senate meeting, there were three open discussions regarding presentations on the National Student Exchange, ASUA Pride Alliance and ASUA’s Student Health Advocacy Committee. NSE and SHAC also introduced their programs to the senate while Pride Alliance requested funding for a UA student to attend the Creating Change Conference in January.

First to present her program was Kelly Murphy, NSE’s advising coordinator, who handed out a brochure and discussed what the program offers. Founded in 1968, the NSE is a nonprofit, educational consortium that has provided exchange opportunities for more than 110,000 students. The program was founded as a second option to study abroad, where nearly 200 universities all over the world participate in this program and where students can experience new cultures with lifelong friends.

Locations include the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In order to be eligible for this program, students must have full-time enrollment, a cumulative 2.75 GPA, no incomplete grades and a good academic and financial standing. The program is open to all majors and students can study for up to an entire academic year by completing two semesters at their location.

“Something that sets us apart from other exchange opportunities on the campus is the cost of the program,” Murphy said. “Payment Plan A is a new program that we are starting this upcoming year.”

Payment Plan A gives students the opportunity to pay in-state tuition at the exchange campus and is only available for Arizona residents. Plan Payment B is a program that NSE has been running for several years and is available to all UA students. Students would pay the same tuition that they would be paying at the UA while they are at an exchange campus.

Students are able to make a list, prioritizing the top three to five schools that they want to attend. Applications for the program are due on March 1.

After applications are submitted, the 200 campus representatives meet at a conference held in March to discuss the placements of each student that applied and where they will be attending.

“Before applying to these colleges, students are to speak with their academic advisor on which classes they will be taking for a total of twelve credits,” Murphy said. “They will be able to find out which credits will transfer to the UA ahead of time before registering for that class.”

NSE frequently changes their location on campus; however, they are currently located at Bear Down Gymnasium and their office hours are listed on their website at nse.arizona.edu.

Pride Alliance co-directors, Jacob Winkelman and Mary Knudson, gave a presentation on the national LGBTQ Creating Change Conference that is taking place in Chicago. Creating Change is the largest leadership conference for LGBTQ and is applicable for all ages.

In the past few years, there were 4,000 attendees for a four to five day conference that holds 250 different day-to-day workshops and institutes. There are four keynote speakers and a large opportunity for building networks and professional development.

“This is a really good opportunity for us to connect and learn from people who have been doing this for years and years and years,” Knudson said. “It’s like building on a legacy of social justice work that our community does.”

Winkelman and Knudson requested funding from the senate to help pay for a student who will be attending the conference. They are requesting $814.50 for the cost of the student’s plane ticket, registration fee and half the cost of the hotel.

Sen. Hailey Schwartz moved to close the discussion and the senate will further discuss the issue during the meeting next week.

Sona Shabazian, co-director of SHAC, then took the floor. SHAC is a Campus Health Service committee that works in cooperation with ASUA. They have over 30 active members and add 14 new members every fall.

They host multiple events such as the Student Nutrition Coalition, also known as SNC or Snack, and the Peer Education and Primary Prevention, or PEPP Team. SNC is a bi-monthly cooking event on campus held on Tuesdays in October with Chef Michael Omo. Students can attend these classes to learn healthy recipes and take home their creation afterward.

SHAC focuses on physical and mental health issues for students, upkeep of the tobacco policy and student opinion. They share sun safety tips by providing sun screen for students at all times and create hope notes around campus to boost student’s energy on their way to class.

PEPP Team meets and discusses topics such as sexual health, substance abuse, vaccination and sexual assault. It develops and implements programming that immediately affect student health such as holding a vaccine fundraiser.

“Our marketing team will be hosting the 10th annual 5K that all proceeds [go] to purchase flu vaccines for the underserved at Tucson HopeFest,” Shabazian said. “We had 200 runners last year.”

Quickly following the closed discussion on SHAC were weekly reports and announcements. Sen. Trey Cox and Sen. Alec Kretch want to create a portal for alternative student funding and Bear Down Camp will be having their second counselor training trip this Sunday.