Posted March 13, 2019
Being student body president at a university is a busy job. Just ask current UW-River Falls Student Body President Rosie Pechous.
That’s why she’s proposing that compensation be increased for the position.
“Student body presidents can’t just start working at the first meeting of the semester. It’s a lot of summer work,” Pechous said. She said she wishes she knew how much uncompensated work would have to be completed over the summer before she took the job.
Once the school year began, Pechous continued to stay busy.
“Students might think we don’t do anything,” Pechous said in an interview in her office on campus. “I spend many hours here writing motions, and the students don’t see our written motions exactly, but they are happening, and they are changing the future of this university, which I wish students knew.”
Pechous, an education major, is a full-time student currently taking 12 credits at UW-River Falls.
“Most of my days are either spent in check-in meetings or meetings with the chancellor,” Pechous said. When she’s not meeting with the chancellor or the provost, she is leading the Student Senate, talking to her directors, and making sure student senators stay busy in their roles.
“I spend a lot of time in this office,” Pechous said. After she leaves the campus to head home around 5 p.m., she enjoys running by the Kinnickinnic River, going to the gym, and visiting her parents and dog.
“I find things to fill my time. I like to be busy, which I think makes me a good student body president because I like to be always checking in,” Pechous said. However, it’s not all free time for Pechous after she leaves River Falls. She works at the YMCA in Hastings, Minnesta, during the weekends.
“It’s a very low-risk, low anything-to-do job and I like it like that,” Pechous said.
For the work Pechous does as student body president, she was given a $4,800 stipend for the 2018-2019 school year, according to Nathan Riel-Elness, co-advisor for the Student Government Association.
At UW-Superior, Special Assistant to the Chancellor Jordan Milan said that Student Body President Scott Holmes received a stipend of $2,300 for the 2018-2019 school year. UW-La Crosse allots $6,462 for its student body president for the 2018-2019 school year, according to Assistant to the Vice Chancellor Robin Tuxen.
Pechous said she believes that student body presidents should receive higher compensation for their work at UW-River Falls.
“Based on our research to other schools and what they get paid, we are proposing that student body president and vice president gets free tuition,” Pechous said.
Pechous is looking into multiple options, saying that at any time she could raise the stipend from the Student Senate’s $32,000 budget, pending approval from senate.
“I think (the compensation) was fair for what student government used to be, and then when I stepped into office I made student government more involved on campus,” Pechous said. “I think the compensation is good, but we have the means to make it more.”
The push for increased compensation for student body president and vice president comes as the Student Government Association changed its rules for student organizations, no longer allowing the organizations to pay their leadership a salary starting next school year.