Renovation plans for the Michigan Union are moving forward.
Loren Rullman, associate vice president for student life, spoke with Central Student Government at their weekly meeting Tuesday to discuss the plans and gather input on the design process.
During the meeting, CSG also heard from Trey Boynton, the director of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs.
Representatives from Workshop Architects, one of the three firms currently working on renovations to the Union, asked CSG members to provide feedback as to what they use the Union for and what changes they would like to see to the building. The architects plan to garner input through the Student Renovations Advisory Committee.
In addition to Workshop Architects, Rullman said two other architecture firms having been hired, including Integrated Design Solutions from Troy who specialize in student spaces, and Washington, D.C.-based Hartman-Cox Architects, preservation architects hired to maintain the integrity of the original buildings.
Rullman said two of the firms had previously worked on renovation projects for the University. IDS and Hartman-Cox both worked on construction of the Munger Residence Hall and renovations to the East Quad Residence Hall and the Law Quadrangle.
Rullman said the project began with the Building a Better Michigan initiative in 2011, which lobbied the University to prioritize renovations for the student common spaces like recreation centers and unions.
Rullman said more than half the funds for the renovation will come from student fees, but contributions were also made by the Office of Student Life, funds generated by parking permits and the University Athletic Department.
“There’s about $80 million allocated to this project,” Rullman said. “I say somewhere in the neighborhood of half of that is going to fixing the plumbing which was put in in 1919.”
Jan van den Kieboom, founder and principal of Workshop Architects, said the Union was built for a smaller student body with different interests, and no longer reflects the University culture.
LSA junior Maddie Levine said the Union is meant to be a hub for students and would like to see better food and shopping options as well as study spaces.
“This isn’t a place I would bring people now because I don’t think there’s anything special or unique about it,” she said.
CSG said they would also like to see improvements to their chambers.
“This is supposed to be a community space,” Charlton said. “If we were to open up the room to community members, they would have difficulty fitting in here — this space is not conducive to that.”
Public Policy junior Thomas Hislop said there should be more meeting spaces for the various organizations on campus.
“We feel like there should be spaces for the organizations that already exist,” Hislop said.
Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs
Boynton said CSG and MESA have partnered on several initiatives, and noted the office is for everyone and not exclusively for communities of color. Shee said the program is launching new initiatives regarding walk-in advising for students who want to launch new programs of their own.
Boynton also touched on the recent Race and Ethnicity Requirement forum hosted by LSA student government, and said talking across differences is a core capacity students will need in the professional world.
“I just looked at a report that talked about inclusive leadership,” Boynton said. “The report was from six countries and Fortune 500 companies, and they really said that in order to be innovative and successful, you need people who have culturally competent skills.”
Boynton spoke about the upcoming changes in the works for MESA.
“What we’ve piloted this semester are race and ethnicity workshops because it is important, relevant, a critical skill to talk about race, and we think it’s a skill people want to learn,” she said.
Central Student Government passed three resolutions unanimously Tuesday, one which amended operating procedures to change how assembly member absences are counted.
Public Policy junior Joe Ambrose said he was disappointed by the lack of attendance at the last CSG meeting and the number of abstentions during the voting on a proposed resolution.
“I just really wanted to express some disappointment that I had about the turnout of last week’s meeting, and I know that we all have a lot of busy schedules,” Ambrose said. “It was our responsibility to educate ourselves on the issue, and I was really at a loss for words at how many abstentions because it’s really doing a disservice to those who elected you.”
Public Policy junior Lucky Lakshman Mulpuri said the low attendance of CSG at assembly meetings and their own events reflects poorly on the body.
“I don’t feel comfortable clapping when a member who is not even elected to the assembly, but appointed, has to send out repeated e-mails for assembly members to participate,” Mulpuri said.
Mulpuri said the events CSG conducts are just as important as the work the assembly does in its meetings and disappointed when a lone CSG representation is left to advocate on behalf of the assembly.
“It’s very simple, you made a commitment. If you can’t go just don’t sign up,” Mulpuri said, “People put in work, and it’s unfair to them if you don’t put in a fair share of responsibility.”