The Racquet

Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

uwlax.edu

uwlax.edu

April Noethe Wolford, Student Government Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Summer is usually the time when students return to their hometowns for a few months to recuperate from a busy year, but that is not the case for some members of the Student Association.

This summer Aaron Bhatoya, Student Association Inclusivity Director, will be working with various student senators, faculty, and local organizations to obtain signatures regarding the removal of the Hiawatha Statue in Riverside Park. As Inclusivity Director, Bhatoya has been a liaison between students, administration, and the community. Some of his past initiatives have included establishing a process for students to receive help in the face of food and housing insecurity, working with other Senators to reduce the late fee, and developing Taste of Diversity – an event for businesses of color to come to campus.

He became involved in the Hiawatha Statue initiative when he received an email from a faculty member at UWL who wanted to see action taken about the Statue. With the email coming later into the semester, it became evident that, if they were serious about moving forward with this initiative, their work would have to take place over the summer.

The group evolved to consist of Bhatoya, various faculty, and those members of Student Senate who would be staying in La Crosse over the summer. After tabling on campus for a few weeks – and receiving 1,056 student signatures – the group realized that they would have to go into the community if they wanted the city to take them seriously.

As those on campus discussed the issue, they couldn’t help but notice that student voices are seen as less than relevant to the City of La Crosse government.

Bhatoya disagrees with the city’s views, stating, “throughout our time here, we contribute to community businesses, work at community businesses, go to community events, use community spaces, go to parks, go to beaches . . . and whether people in the community want to acknowledge it or not the university effects their lives.” He believes that those in the city government should take student voices more seriously because those voices do, in reality, have influence in the community.

The group will be attempting to make their impact in La Crosse by gathering community voices as well as voices from the University. They have already begun their work in the community by obtaining signatures at the local farmers markets, at this past weekend’s Festival Foods Half Marathon, and through door knocking. Their plan is to continue throughout the summer and share the signatures with Mayor Kabat in August.

Despite the term coming to an end, and Bhatoya being relieved of his duties as Inclusivity Director, he is adamant about seeing this initiative to the end. “This has moved from Inclusivity Director to more of a social justice activism role in community,” he stated. “I think that it’s important that people see that these roles don’t just end on the day that we’re sworn out; they complement who we are and help develop us.”

Coulee Progressives has backed the group’s efforts, and Bhatoya has also been in contact with other local organizations as well.

Bhatoya’s message for students about getting involved in the community is for students to start “walking in these spaces and inhabiting them more to show the community that we’re here.” He states, “Campus is a good environment, but that doesn’t solve the problem of the community not respecting our voices.”

As he steps down from his position and graduates from UWL, Bhatoya reflected, “I’m really grateful to have the opportunity that I had, but now I want to use the resources I’ve found to do this kind of work.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Writer
April Noethe Wolford, Student Government Reporter


Year: 5th year senior
Hometown: Bloomington, WI
Major: English Education
Minor: philosophy and at-risk youth psychology
Other campus involvement:...

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    How new Pay-by-Phone Parking program affects UWL students

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    UWL cheer team disbands following hardships

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    ACCESS Center working to help students succeed, no matter the disability

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    Midterm Elections: What you need to know

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    La Crosse area Summer bucketlist

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    Guide to reporting sexual misconduct at UWL

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    Farmers Market offers students a chance to relax before finals week

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    Wisconsin native performer serenaded students once again

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    SUFAC And CAB Bring Involvement Opportunities To UWL Students

  • Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break

    In-Depth

    Self-Care Study Tips 

WANT COUPON
Subscribe now to get free discount coupon code. Don't miss out!
    SUBSCRIBE
    I agree with the term and condition
    The student news site of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
    Members of Student Association continue their work over Summer Break