UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

Fair compensation for student representation

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UHCL has many students to thank for the success of the university’s overall campus experience, from planning movie nights to writing the newspaper. These student leaders are not only enrolled full-time but also manage to balance homework and jobs with their leadership duties.

Engaging in student activities in college not only looks great on paper, but it can also lead to professional opportunities and skill building. This beyond-the-classroom college experience offers students the opportunities to build their leadership, teambuilding, problem-solving, networking and conflict resolution skills, as well as building confidence and self-esteem and other professional skills that can improve their resume.

Here at UHCL, there are many different opportunities for students to become involved on campus. Some of these leadership roles receive monetary compensation. All of them receive intrinsic and altruistic benefits. Most college students would prefer a position where they are compensated financially. Because of the current budget crisis, allocating additional funds for student leaders is highly unlikely; however, it is still important for students to take on leadership roles to better enhance their professional skills, regardless of if the position is paid or not.

There are many opportunities for students to become involved on campus. For example, one can join a student organization. There are more than 90 student organizations at UHCL, all of which are comprised of student officers and members. On average, student officers dedicate more than 15 hours a week to their organization, all of which go into serving the interests of the student body.

Student Government Association (SGA) is one of the largest organization on campus and also acts as the voice of the student body, providing students the opportunity to express their views and concerns as well as allocate funds to other campus organizations. On average, members of the SGA Executive Board dedicate 15 hours a week to SGA issues. Executive Board members receive access to designated parking spots (but they must purchase their own parking pass) in the front of the parking lot as compensation for their work.

Another active student organization on campus is the Campus Activities Board (CAB). CAB has various educational, recreational, entertainment and traditional programs within the organization that put on events each semester to enhance the student experience. CAB officers’ volunteer around 6-10 hours a week; hours vary during meeting and event weeks. CAB members, on average, volunteer approximately 5 hours a week. CAB members do not receive monetary compensation for their work.

In addition to joining an organization, there are plenty other ways students can become involved on campus. For example, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (SDEI) houses Student Ambassadors who focus on spreading identity awareness, inclusion and representation across the campus. SDEI offers services available to all students, not just international students. On average, Student Ambassadors dedicate 15-20 hours a week to issues and are paid as student workers. SDEI also provides unpaid internship opportunities to students to receive course credit.

The Office of Orientation and New Student Programs (ONSP) houses Orientation Leaders who prepare and host all orientation sessions. On top of orientation, the Orientation Leaders are also certified peer educators who build and maintain relationships with students and help connect them to the university. The average Orientation Leader dedicates more than 100 hours over a year, which consists of training, team building retreats and orientation sessions. Once completing 6/10 orientations, Orientation Leaders receive a stipend.

All students are invited to contribute to The Signal, UHCL’s student newspaper. The Signal operates as a student forum, allowing students, staff, faculty and community members to contribute story ideas, articles, graphics, photos, videos, poems, essays and letters to the editor. The Signal’s editorial staff, all of whom are students, are responsible for determining the newspaper’s content. The Signal is an award-winning publication, and all undergraduate student work is eligible for competition. The editorial staff members are paid student worker positions. Students enrolled in the Media Production course receive course credit. Students average 10-19.5 hours per week.

Student leaders at UHCL dedicate their time and effort to elevate the daily lives of students on campus. It is unclear why some of these positions are compensated while others are not. The rationalization for not compensating SGA or CAB has been if these positions were to receive financial compensation, they would then become employees of the state rather than student representatives.

Because of all they do, it only seems fair for organization officers and leaders to receive some type of compensation. Taking into consideration the budget restraints, many student leaders will never see any kind of compensation. Fortunately, for most of the leaders and ambassadors, money is not what drives their dedication and commitment to what they do. In fact, the driving force of it all is the altruistic benefits they receive in the process such as building a better environment for students as well as the community. Visit any office for more information on how to become a student leader.