Photo: Genessa Gutzait· The Sentry

Photo: Genessa Gutzait· The Sentry                                                                                          SGA President and Vice President, Matthew Kriese and Frida Silva
A final update and farewell

Over the course of the past year, my colleague and friend Frida Silva and I have had the privilege to oversee and lead the student body in the most titular position of leadership a student can hold. We have experienced a great deal of hardship and obstacles, yet I am proud to say that we have made it to the end of our administration having lead a remarkably successful and productive SGA.

Frida oversaw the initiatives to bring a full-time, undocumented student support staff. This person would assist in supporting the financial, social, and academic needs of not only undocumented students but also the needs of immigrant students broadly. While this initiative has received support from all levels of University staff, faculty, and especially students, higher administration has denied us a financial allocation that would pay for this individual’s salary. That being said, this initiative has been greenlit to continue in next year’s administration, meaning this sort of support is possible in the future for our students.

Frida also led, alongside student-at-large Esther Bellinsky, an initiative to provide feminine hygiene products in all restrooms (male, female, and gender-inclusive) on the CU Denver campus. This initiative has taken off like wildfire, garnering an enormous amount of support across the University. Both Esther and Frida have committed to continuing this initiative into the next year alongside SGA to allocate University finances toward this service to assist in the needs of people across this campus.

Throughout the year, Frida and I have also worked toward increasing the on-campus minimum wage for student hourly workers. Having gone back and forth with administration for the last 13 months on this issue, I am proud to say that a great deal of headway has been made toward realizing this at CU Denver. The initial request to increase the minimum wage by one dollar would’ve caused a half-million dollar line item to the University’s bottom line. From this point, we renegotiated an opportunity to extend the spirit of Amendment 70 and increase the on-campus minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 through 90 cent increases. The next administration has agreed to continue these negotiations as well as fight for more equitable working conditions for student workers through the student worker council.

On the subject of the next administration, it is my pleasure to introduce President-elect Jamie Sutliff and Vice Presidential-elect Peter Waller. I want to formally wish both of these outstanding student leaders nothing but the best moving forward into the year. I cannot wait to see what they do to benefit the student body and fight for their interests.

As I wish the new administration in, Frida and I want to say one final time that this experience has been a deeply moving and life-changing opportunity. We are both honored beyond words to have been able to do the work we did and be in the conversations we were included in. As students, continue to hold your leaders accountable for representing you. Your voice will always be the most powerful on this campus.

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