By Byron Hoskinson —
The University of Louisville Student Government Association has created a five-year master plan tying students more directly to campus and its culture. SGA proposes innovative money-saving programs like textbook checkout and scholarship reform.
The 2025 Strategic Development Plan, crafted by last year’s student government members, extends to May 2025. It seeks to continue the development of a campus community that allows students to thrive in their academic, social and community pursuits, according to the SGA’s website.
Student government president Jasper Noble said the plan refines the Student 2020 plan, a decade-long initiative to tackle student-identified university and campus issues.
“We’re looking at where [the 2020 Plan] was successful, what its shortcomings were, what was overlooked in the previous plan that now needs to be put in the forefront,” Noble said. He said SGA had evaluated the plan to see where they could refine some of the good ideas into more specific goals that they wanted to achieve.
He also said that SGA members looked for issues affecting each student during the months-long process of developing the 2025 plan.
Drawing from previous student surveys, the 2025 Plan identifies five key categories for student success: college affordability and accessibility, student facilities, student services, academic enrichment and retention and student engagement.
“You’re able to look at the body of students we have and identify that there are some key categories that affect everybody. And while they may affect everybody differently, they still have a broad role to play in everybody’s lives,” Noble said. “Everybody works with student facilities, everybody works with student services, everybody has to pay tuition.”
The 2025 Plan is also a vehicle for transforming the role of student government. It calls for SGA to change from an association that evaluates problems annually into one that develops solutions as problems arise.
One of the ways SGA is implementing faster evaluation is by addressing rising tuition at the university. They see it as both a student and social issue, stating that when the costs of college are prohibitive, the community as a whole suffers and that higher education should be seen as an investment by all.
The new plan lays out a framework for reducing educational costs, with its efforts focused on reducing the loss of student scholarship, allowing more meal plan options, reducing student fees, increasing fee transparency and implementing a textbook checkout program.
To mitigate the incidence of lost scholarship, SGA has suggested implementing a probationary period or an opportunity to take summer classes before losing a scholarship.
“Most students would agree that one bad semester shouldn’t determine the viability of someone being able to attend an entire term of college,” Noble said.
In the textbook checkout program, SGA plans to partner with the campus store and university libraries to create a program in which students can checkout and return textbooks throughout the semester.