UISG revamps recruitment process to reach more people, eliminate bias

UISG has implemented changes in an effort to combat bias in the application process and make the organization more accessible to everyone.



University President Bruce Harreld listens during a joint session of the UISG and GPSG on Sept. 19, 2017. Harreld spoke about the need for cooperation between student leaders and administrators, and challenges faced by the university following budget cuts by state legislature.

Caleb McCullough, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Student Government has implemented a new application and recruitment process in an effort to remove bias and make the organization more accessible.

UISG is accepting applications for the 17 seats that it has available in the Senate this fall. Five of those seats are reserved for freshmen, and the rest are at-large seats, which are open to any undergraduate student.

The organization will continue to accept applications through Friday at 5 p.m. Instructions on applying can be found at uisg.uiowa.edu.

To apply, students must answer two short-essay questions and provide résumés. The UISG Internal Affairs Committee will then select a number of applicants for interviews. The committee will then select the students to fill the Senate seats.

One of the big changes to the process this year is that the names of the applicants are hidden from the committee members. This was done in an effort to remove any bias in the selection process.

“We’re trying to make it more equitable and fair for everyone,” said UISG Speaker of the Senate Connor Gronski.

UISG released its first demographic survey in June, outlining a number of possible future efforts that could help make the organization a better representation of UI students. The new changes this year have been in the works since spring and were not based on the findings of the survey.

In addition to the revised application process, UISG is revamping its recruitment efforts and outreach programs in an effort to get more people interested and informed about student government.

UISG members in charge of these changes said that students have viewed the organization as inaccessible.

“We don’t want to be an elitist organization, and we don’t want to come across that way.” Gronski said.

The organization has held two outreach events: the first in Catlett Hall targeted freshmen and the second at the UISG office in the IMU. The goal of these events was to provide an opportunity for people to network with the organization, ask any questions they had about it, and make the the group more accessible for people interested in getting involved.

“We really want to make sure we’re reaching as many people as possible,” said Internal Affairs Committee Chair Lily Burns.

There will be another outreach effort at the Airliner from 4-7 p.m. today. Students and community members will get the chance to talk to UISG members, find out what the organization is about, and learn ways to get involved.

The ultimate goal of these efforts is to create a welcoming environment in which all students feel they have a voice.

These efforts are part of a larger plan to make the organization more transparent in general, said Internal Affairs Committee member Alexia Sanchez. It’s important to UISG members that students understand what UISG does and how it operates, she said. They hope the efforts can help the group better represent all students at the university.

“I hope that this new process is more welcoming toward different types of individuals,” Sanchez said.