Austin Fast

What does Associated Student Government (ASG) do for me?

A new benchmark commission established at Tuesday’s ASG senate meeting intends to answer just this question.

“Usually the number one question from students is, ‘What … does ASG do for us and what does the university do for us?'” Secretary for Public Relations Jeff Puthoff said “This is a chance for us to get out what we do for them.”

The legislation provides for a temporary commission to research other student governments around the nation and survey Miami students to find out where ASG could improve.

Jon McNabb, vice president of student organizations and co-author of the bill, will chair the commission alongside five student senators that have not yet been determined.

He said the members of the group will be responsible for completing research on other American universities, discussing with faculty and administrators how new ideas could be implemented and reporting the findings back to the commission weekly.

By the last senate meeting this semester, the benchmark commission will present a final report that includes recommendations for up to five services ASG could add next year and ways to implement each recommendation.

“We’re trying to empower the student senate through this and really get to the heart of what students are concerned about,” Student Body President Mike Scott said.

Senator Adam Harris, co-author of the bill, said the commission will attempt to examine major issues and problems that affect all students.

“This is different from everyday student concerns,” Harris said. “We’ll be looking at overarching services others provide to their students and how we can implement them here.”

Harris mentioned Appalachian State University’s student government as an example for its innovative “Rate My Landlord” Web site, which allows off-campus students to review landlords much like “”

Junior Katie Kraska is not so sure that ASG will improve its services for students even with the benchmark commission in action.

“They don’t have the final authoritative say,” Kraska said. “They pass bills and it’s kind of like making suggestions to the university. The university doesn’t actually have to do it … so, what do I want? Lower tuition, but they can’t change that.”

ASG elects Buholzer as president pro tempore

ASG also selected senior Brendan Buholzer as president pro tempore Tuesday.

President pro tempore is traditionally considered the most powerful senator in the student senate and chairs ASG’s oversight committee, which ensures all other committees are fulfilling their duties.

Buholzer has been a member of student government in some form since his first-year at Miami and ran for student body president last year.

“It’s important that all cabinet members and senators are upheld to the measures we are expected to uphold,” Buholzer said. “I don’t accept mediocrity.”

The president pro tempore’s responsibilities also include leading the senate in the absence of Doug Haynes, president of the student senate, and sitting as an ex-officio, nonvoting member of all senate committees.