North Texas Daily

Union of Non-Traditional Students seeks officers

Union of Non-Traditional Students seeks officers

Union of Non-Traditional Students seeks officers
November 11
10:07 2013

Brittany Villegas / Contributing Writer

The year-old Union of Non-Traditional Students is looking to fill open officer positions to restore a reliable meeting place for an organization that represents about 5,300 students. The group helps raise awareness about non-traditional students, and gives these students a sense of identity by providing them with a place to socialize, support and communicate with one another on UNT’s campus.

Since the end of the summer, the organization has tried to operate without a permanent president, vice president, treasurer or secretary, said Arlene Rivero Carr, co-adviser for the group and a UNT staff psychologist.

Because the positions have not been filled, the organization has delayed meetings, projects and fundraisers.

“We want to be able to effectively help these students. We want to make things easier. We want to help them meet their goals and we want them to know that they have support,” said Rivero Carr, who works with non-traditional students to provide a consistent presence and guides decisionmaking for the organization.

The next meeting for the organization will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. Nov. 11 in Wooten Hall, room 321.

Non-traditional students are typically identified as an undergraduate student who is older, has returned to college after first enrolling, didn’t go to college after high school, has children or other dependents, is a veteran, is a single parent, works at least 35 hours a week, commutes to campus or a combination of these things.

“Honestly, it’s a very vague term,” Rivero Carr said. “It’s anyone that doesn’t feel like they fit into the mold of someone coming straight out of high school and coming to a four-year university.”

The Union of Non-Traditional Students still hosts major events, such as Non-Traditional Student Week, and offers services like its child-care referral system. (HYPERLINK: http://studentactivities.unt.edu/resources.) But members have met only twice this semester, and they haven’t had time to recruit new members through their grab-and-go free snack program outside of the BLB or Wooten, Rivero Carr said.

Also on hold are future projects, such as a non-traditional student mentor program that helps older students adjust to returning to college, and fundraisers to help support programs and raise money for non-traditional student scholarships, she said.

“The organization being in flux this semester just created confusion, a lack of certainty,” said Ryan Lux, a 33-year-old political science senior and founding organization member who currently sits as the non-traditional student representative for UNT.  “Those people that get elected in the spring for the following terms will be able to take hold of their positions and establish a clear path of how things should run.”

The previous officers faced family and job obligations, making them unable to return to full-time officer positions. However, Lux said some of the past officers, such as temporary president Yasmin Valdez, still dedicate part of their time to the organization.

Lux said the organization would like to have permanent officers nominated and elected by April 2014, but members are also considering holding an interim election in January if they can generate enough interest.

Any student, including traditional students, can run for office as long as he or she is genuinely trying to help further the organization’s mission of promoting the academic and social life of non-traditional students, he said.

Ultimately, the biggest problem that the organization faces is scheduling meetings at convenient times for non-traditional students, Lux said.

“Last year, we had probably 15 to 20 people that showed up on a consistent basis, and now we’re at that five to 10 level,” he said.

An inconvenient meeting schedule hindered 40-year-old, non-traditional student Kathleen Bolyog’s participation in the organization. She attended sessions at the beginning of fall 2013, but said she has had trouble finding time to continue as she balances being a full-time student, working two part-time jobs, raising two teenagers, being married, paying her bills and taking care of her home.

“I wish they were more open to bigger time slots,” she said. “It’d be convenient if they were open to having more social get-togethers outside of regular school hours.”

Right now, the organization is trying to focus on having general meetings on a regular basis so that members can start talking to and assessing the group’s wants and needs, Lux said.

The meetings are open to all students. For information about the organization or about running for an officer position, visit or send a message to Nesting Eagles Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nesting.eagles

 Feature photo: Union of Non-Traditional Students logo courtesy of unt.orgsync.com 

 

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