Student Life Advancement Act passes


Members of the Whitewater Student Government address their praises and concerns surrounding the Student Life Advancement Act of 2022.

Ivy Steege, Campus News Editor

The student retention rate is an important topic at UW-Whitewater due to the prior decline in returning students due to factors such as the pandemic. As enrollment rises again, the Whitewater Student Government (WSG) proposed a bill called the Student Life Advancement Act to aid enrollment and retention, as well as improve student experiences on campus.

“We talked among some of the senators running saying this school is known as a suitcase school because we don’t have things to do. Well this gives us things to do that we don’t have otherwise,” said Senator Aroca.

Proposed by several members of the WSG, the Student Life Advancement Act of 2022 has plans to increase student retention in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, encourage student participation within the community, and advance student life for all Warhawks. 

With approximately a $98 increase to the Non-Allocable fees of a full-time student’s tuition, the Student Life Advancement Act hopes to make on-campus activities free for students. 

“The Non-Allocable portion of the fee goes to student services like UHCS, the Young Auditorium, the Williams Center, SIA, the children’s center, the Pride Center, the Center of the Arts. That really is the largest portion of your fee; and none of those services would exist without the fee. They exist because students throughout the past number of years have felt particularly compelled that those are things we want on campus. It’s one of the things that keeps the University Competitive making sure it has these different amenities so that students can recreate. So that students are healthy. So that students feel like they are at home while they’re on campus,” said the WSG President Davin Stavroplos.

One of the most appealing aspects of the bill is allowing Young Auditorium to become more accessible to UW-W students. A majority of shows cycling through would be free to a person enrolled at Whitewater, which can include Broadway tours, bands and much more. Along with this, participation at the William’s Center Weight Room will be open to students for no charge. Some of the other amenities include free Warhawk Alley bowling and billiards, doubling the amount of free flu shots at the University Health and Counseling Center, a grant for student programming at the Pride Center and a new full-time position for UC Live.

“This is a phenomenal bill, and it’s going to create a ton of wonderful opportunities for students on campus,” said Chairman Matthew Schweinert. “Reducing fees that students should definitely not have to pay for is just one of the smartest decisions we can make as a student government.”

A concern was raised during the meeting about students worried that the bill will not help them. Members discussed how to talk with students unsure about the benefits of the bill. 

“I’ve brought this up to a couple of students – not in WSG – and the first thing I get is why should I agree to this if I’m not getting involved in going to the auditorium, bowling, or billiards?” said  Senator Bennett. 

Schweinert stated that paying into the benefits of the community allows the student to receive said benefits. Someone who might not go bowling right now might only be avoiding the activity because of the fee. He believes this is a cost-effective way for students to get more out of the Whitewater campus. Other members at Monday’s meeting were also hopeful that the Student Life Advancement Act will encourage students to be more involved on campus.

“At the Chancellor’s State of the Union, there were a lot of talks about student retention, student involvement, and how do we get students to stay here and feel welcome. Well this is where we should start,” said Stavroplos. “We can start with these projects. It’s not going to solve the problem, and there’s a lot of work that’s going to go into it after this. But it’s a good starting point to put us on the right track to make Whitewater feel like a place at home for everyone.” 

After a unanimous vote, the Student Life Advancement Act of 2022 was passed at the Monday, Feb. 28 meeting.​​

The bill will now be presented to the chancellor to delegate further action. After approval it would be sent to the UW System. In June, the Board of Regents will either approve or veto the increase. 

Speaker of the Senate Justin Wesolek spoke about a video shown at the end of the State of the University Address, and how he considered it “chilling.” He proclaimed,

“It shows what a great place UW-Whitewater is. And that is exactly the point of what we proposed in the Student Life Advancement Act,” said Speaker of the Senate Justin Wesolek. “This bill continues to make UW-Whitewater the greatest university in the system and a great place to call home for anyone.”  

To help in the advocacy of this bill, email WSG at [email protected] or visit their office at UC 140. 

Click here to view the Student Life Advancement Act