New UISG guidebook provides information for first-year senators

UISG recently created a guidebook for incoming senators to increase the knowledge they need to be effective members.


Emily Wangen

Sentators listen to a presentation during a UISG meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Senators heard from guest speakers and considered legislation.

Mitchell Griffin, News Reporter

Incoming members of the University of Iowa Student Government recently received a new tool to offset the learning curve within the organization.

UISG leaders compiled the information they believe members need to be effective senators into a “UISG Guidebook,” including important contacts, acronyms, procedural rules, by-laws, and funding — which UISG Cabinet Director Colin Lakadat said is one of the most difficult aspects of the organization to learn.  

“We don’t ever expect anyone to know all the ins-and-outs of UISG in their first month, or even their first semester,” Lakadat said.

Lakadat said UISG built the new guidebook based on previous collections of internal documents.

“Rather than reinventing the wheel, we wanted to build upon what we already had,” Lakadat said. “Taking a past guide, adding to it, changing what needed to be changed and then formally institutionalizing that into something that we’re going to add on to every single year instead of totally re-doing it every year, which used to be the case.” 

UISG is also creating a second guide that will serve to educate anyone that wants to run for a leadership position in the organization.

“The goal is to have a document where if you literally don’t know what UISG stands for, but you know you want to represent students, you know you want to improve student life, you can read it … and [you will] know how to run and [your] options,” UISG President Noel Mills said.

Mills added that the guidebook part of a greater effort to make UISG as transparent as possible to its constituents. 

RELATED: UISG launches new online newsletter for student body

Before the guide can be published, Mills said, any election reforms this semester will have to be passed to be included in the updated book.

“I would certainly hope to have it published by the end of the semester,” Mills said. 

Her time on the Senate floor in her first year in UISG was reflective of the knowledge she had at that point, Mills said.

“I can probably count on one hand the amount of times that I spoke during Senate my freshman year,” Mills said. “I was nervous and anxious about speaking, mostly because I didn’t really know what the culture was.” 

Kevin Drahos, a new UISG senator, said he has already used the UISG Guidebook to help him understand how legislation is passed and other inner workings of UISG in his first few weeks.

“The executive team, leadership team, and the Senate have been super helpful in planning a lot of activities and retreats for us to get accustomed to this really large learning curve,” Drahos said. “There’s definitely still a lot to learn, and I’m definitely working on that.”

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Drahos said his fellow new senators are ambitious and eager to beat the learning curve and he knows the UISG Guidebook will be a great tool along the way. 

The retreat helped the new members learn the “nitty-gritty” of UISG and helped prepare them for an intense start to the year, Drahos said.

“The first night, our very first meeting as new senators, we had to do some pretty contentious votes on funding,” Drahos said. “That was definitely pretty overwhelming, but it was super humbling to be able to represent students in that meeting and jump right in. We got a first taste of that overwhelming amount of initiatives that have to be taken care of.”

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