The Spring semester is coming to a conclusion and with it the UH 55th Administration of the Student Government Association. But, before this year’s SGA concludes, the student organization awarded top University departments for outstanding work done for the UH student body—among them, was UH Administration and Finance’s Auxiliary Services.
SGA typically gives out awards each year to UH higher-up administrators, the president, vice-chancellors and gives a few awards to administrators, usually ones at the top of the University, according to SGA.
This year, the recipient of the “SGA Facilitator Award for the 55th Administration” was UH Administration and Finance’s Auxiliary Services.
“We wanted to give an award to an administrator or team that was hands-on in SGA’s work, and that’s what Auxiliary Services was for the 55th Administration,” said Cameron Barrett, 55th UH Student Government president and Finance graduate student. “I think Auxiliary Services does the best job at implanting interest-group feedback amongst the divisions/departments. Not only does Auxiliary Services work with SGA to accomplish initiatives, but Auxiliary Services’ committees are also very active.”
The award was based on the frequency of working with the department, the consistency of the administrator/department and the end-yield of the time spent working with the administrator/department.
“Auxiliary Services is pleased to receive this award as it represents all of the hard work and effort that has been put in by both Auxiliary Services and SGA,” said Neil Hart, Auxiliary Services and Operations executive director. “This award reaffirms Auxiliary Services’ commitment to student success. We are fortunate that we have established a strong working relationship with SGA.”
Though Auxiliary Services did not apply for the award itself, the department did work to apply some of the many initiatives that SGA requested.
“The award represents a great change of pace for SGA-Auxiliary Services relations,” Barrett said. “I’m glad SGA can call Auxiliary Services and Administration and Finance exemplary partners.”
Some of the applied initiatives included addressing food insecurity and student homelessness on campus, where a meal card system was established by donating $2,500 to the cause, while doubling the donations from Auxiliary Services to the Urban Experience Program’s meal voucher system; and, establishing a housing insecurity meal-plan with a 75 percent meal price reduction.
Students are also now able to donate their guest-meal-passes to the same meal voucher program out of the Urban Experience Program, leading to a few hundred more donations.
Auxiliary Services also facilitated an SGA’s Parking and Transportation canned food drive, which collected more than 400 canned item donations, and, at the same time, returned more than $1,500 to students with an outstanding parking credit. The donated items were given to the University’s pantry to help those with food insecurities.
Among those initiatives, various food services on campus are also currently transitioning from Styrofoam cups and takeout containers to those of paper, and exchanging food plastic bags to paper.
“From the beginning of working with SGA, we let them know that we were not always going to be able to give exactly what is requested,” said Matt Prasifka, Auxiliary Services and Operations program director. “But we would definitely work with SGA to find a compromise to help reach what was sought for in some form or another.”
According to Prasifka, leaders from Auxiliary Services would meet with SGA every two weeks to have constant communication and be able to help SGA establish projects they had in mind.
Prasifka would attend SGA’s biweekly senate meetings and served as the liaison for Auxiliary Services with SGA, attended many of the monthly meetings and worked closely with SGA throughout the term. He would then work with the Auxiliary Services leadership to ensure everyone is on the same page.
“Ultimately, all of this work is for the success of our students,” Prasifka said. “We have been charged with trying to support our students as much as possible. We are invested in making their experience positive on campus.”
Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President for Administration, Dr. Emily Messa also expressed gratitude for the collaboration between her team and SGA.
“I am grateful to Auxiliary Services’ commitment to supporting our shared governance processes, and in particular its work with our student leaders,” Messa said. “They are an excellent role model for all of us to follow.”
According to Hart, this award confirms that Auxiliary Services is committed to student success and that it continues to work hard to be in harmony with UH’s student government and their needs as it relates to the services the division offers. “I am so happy to work with this group and specifically, the SGA 55th Administration. We are looking forward to continuing this positive momentum with the next SGA Administration,” Hart said.
“Auxiliary Services has been great to work with,” Barrett said. “They seem to really value student feedback, and they have a very humble, honest and down-to-earth culture within the department; which, SGA greatly appreciated during the 55th Administration.”