University of Iowa Student Government, or UISG, is made up of undergraduate students on campus who work with the administration to provide official student feedback, allocate funding, and work with students on what they would like to see at the University of Iowa. Members of UISG are voted into office by the student body. Vice President Elect for 2020/2021, Mara Smith, talked to us about her involvement with UISG.
How did you get involved in UISG?
Noel [Mills] and Sarah [Henry] asked me to join their ticket last year and I ran as senator with them.
What are your past experiences with UISG?
I have been in student government for 1 year as a senator. During that year I was the Student Life committee chair, and was a member of the internal affairs committee.
Why did you choose to run for vice president this year?
I decided to run to be VP because I truly believed in Connor [Wooff], and the things he wanted to do for campus. I thought Connor and I would make a good team, and our ideas and personalities complement each other very well.
What are you hoping to change in the next year?
This next year of student government is going to be quite a bit different than at least the past few years, and probably even any other year because of how the current semester is playing out and because we aren't sure how the fall semester is going to look. This makes it hard to say what things we will be changing. I am excited to work together with our cabinet and the senators to create our platform so we can decide what things we want to see changed, and also what the undergraduate population as a whole wants to see changed.
What is your favorite part of UISG?
My favorite part of UISG is how it gets to function socially like any other student org in that it is a great place to build meaningful friendship, but also is completely different than any other student org in the way it is part of shared governance, and we have the opportunity to speak directly to administrators and other faculty and staff on behalf of all students.
What else do you do on campus that isn't UISG?
I am a member of Fools magazine. I write poetry for that and love to write in my free time. I am about to finish my term as Vice president of Kairos, which is a student ministry on campus. I am part of a new student org called Ignite, which empowers women in politics. I sit on the Basic Needs committee. When I am not doing any of those thing I like to ride my bike and paint!
What is your favorite restaurant in Iowa City?
A three way tie between Pullman, Thai Flavors, and Shorts.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.