SBA President-Elect Hopes to Improve Student Opportunities

Jim Anderson
by Madiha Malik

A Husky through undergraduate and Law School, James (Jim) Anderson, will be the newest SBA President, beginning April 1, 2014, after winning an uncontested election in late February.

Anderson, a rising 3L, has been involved with the SBA General Body for two years, serving as 1L Class Representative and Chief Financial Officer in his 2L year.  Now, in his last year, Anderson is eager to help UConn Law continue to be a community of engaged students and to improve student access to the resources the law school has to offer.

Among other initiatives, Anderson wants the SBA to help students better network with alumni to increase job prospects, particularly through UConn Law CONNECT, a platform launched in late January providing students with an online community to interact with alumni and peers.

“People are more than willing to give back and help out, its just a matter of, both within and outside, tapping those resources,” he says.

Anderson’s other goal is to improve the SBA budget by requesting an increase in the student activity fee, which will allow student groups to put on more events. According to Anderson, the student activity fee is currently $82 each semester, which goes directly to the S.B.A. who then allocates funds to student groups. He says the student activity fee has not increased since 2009.

Next year, Anderson also hopes to have students become more involved in the SBA and increase transparency.  Anderson spoke candidly about this year’s uncontested presidential elections, joking that it took the pressure off him. But he said it was troubling to see an obvious lack of student body participation in the SBA. Of the 2014-2015 SBA General Body positions, all of the representative positions were uncontested and students only voted for the Vice Presidential ticket. Anderson states that he wants to find a way to increase involvement and make sure the SBA is doing the kinds of things that students are interested in doing.  To do so, Anderson plans to start receiving feedback from students at the end of the school year and over the summer about what improvements the SBA can make next year.

“The role of the SBA is to encourage a more positive student experience,” Anderson says. He states the SBA does a good job at this, but he thinks it can do better.  Part of that improvement, he says, is getting feedback from students.  According to Anderson, the semester Budget Meeting is one of the better-attended SBA meetings, when student group leaders provide insight into their budgetary needs. This, Anderson says, is extremely beneficial to the SBA as the group gains an outsider’s perspective, and he encourages more students to share their opinions and concerns with the SBA.

A smaller-scale change that Anderson hopes to make is to move the weekly SBA meetings earlier than the current 9:30 p.m. time to make attendance more convenient for all students and promote participation.