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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

What we want to see from Jae Kim’s presidency

By Thresher Editorial Board     3/19/24 10:10pm

Jae Kim has assumed the role of Student Association president, having led his first Senate meeting Monday night. We hope that Kim will foster serious deliberation within the SA and make meaningful change through concrete initiatives. Here are the changes that we want Kim and the new SA cohort to focus on during the 2024–25 term.

Explore raising the Blanket Tax

The Blanket Tax has remained $85 since 2015 — equivalent to $112 today with inflation. Rice had 3,800 undergraduates in 2015; 10 years later, we have 1,000 more. A larger student body means existing organizations need proportionally more money, but it also fosters new initiatives to address broader interests. There is a need for increased funding to support activities and services for the whole student body.

The SA should determine how much more students would be comfortable paying. Get student input on whether students want more Blanket Tax Organizations, and if so, which ones would serve them.

Gain student input for campus construction projects

The construction of colleges 12 and 13 and the redesign of the RMC, among other upcoming projects, provide an opportunity to shape Rice buildings to fit the needs of the current and future student body. It will be critical to know what stakeholders need so that these buildings can best serve them. 

The SA should represent its constituents in meetings with the administration. Stress accommodations for transgender and gender non-conforming students in the new residential colleges. Ensure that temporary relocations during the construction of the RMC are just as accessible as the new building will be. Make sure the administration can’t ignore student voices.

Expand late night dining options

We commend Kim for the work he has done so far to provide more healthy dining options outside of servery hours and his promise to keep working on this issue. Talk to students to learn what hours and types of food would best fit their needs.

Increase student engagement

Every year, SA candidates promise to improve their relationship with the student body, yet student engagement remains dismally low. To make this change happen requires effort from everyone in the SA: Host the town halls. Publicize resolutions on social media. Actively seek out input from students who don’t already engage with the SA. 

We believe that Kim and his executive committee can reach more students if they think creatively and put their energy into it.

Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Prayag Gordy, Riya Misra, Nayeli Shad, Brandon Chen, Sammy Baek, Sarah Knowlton, Hadley Medlock and Pavithr Goli. 

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