First CSG Assembly talks UHS insurance, SOFC, summer projects

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 10:44pm

The University of Michigan Central Student Government holds their first meeting of the school year at the League Tuesday evening.

The University of Michigan Central Student Government holds their first meeting of the school year at the League Tuesday evening. Buy this photo
Claire Meingast/Daily

The Central Student Government discussed several upcoming executive projects including game day hydration stations as well as plans to address the change in University policy regarding coverage for sexually transmitted diseases during its first assembly of the school year Tuesday night.

At the beginning of the meeting, Isabelle Blanchard, CSG vice president and LSA senior, discussed the success of the first game day this previous Saturday with the creation of several hydration stations. Hydration stations located across campus provided water and food to ensure student safety. MDining, Center for Campus Involvement and Fraternity and Sorority Life donated hot dogs and water for the stations. Blanchard said CSG hopes to make these stations more sustainable this year by including compostable cups at water refill stations rather than distributing disposable plastic water bottles.

“This year we are trying to make them a little more sustainable,” Blanchard said. “we tried doing compostable cups instead of plastic water bottles, and that is a model we are trying to figure out how to do at other stations.”

Both Ben Gerstein, CSG president and Public Policy junior, and Blanchard addressed the recent changes to the University Health Service insurance, specifically with regard to the elimination of coverage for sexually transmitted infection screening. They expressed concern regarding the issue and the student response. 

“The change did happen in July, but there is a lot more traction on it now, and so we have been preparing for this already, starting by making a survey to gain feedback on this,” Blanchard said. “I think, at this point, the administration is aware of this, but I think they need to hear from more students that this really is an issue for us.”

Blanchard said CSG will be sending out a survey in order to gauge student feedback on the UHS policy change. She said she hopes the survey will ensure the administration more fully understands students’ reactions to the change. Within this survey, the policy changes will be described and broken down so the complex insurance issue can be more transparent and easily understood. The survey will also provide information about local alternatives for STI testing.

“In our survey, we do a really great job explaining what the changes are,” Blanchard said. “I think it can get really confusing, and health care, in general, can be a really complicated issue; we explain it, and we are also providing alternative STI resources in the area.”

During the meeting Gerstein reviewed the work the executive branch had completed over the summer, including plans to subsidize Group X passes, which would allow students to go through the University financial aid department to receive passes to participate in group fitness classes provided by University Recreational Sports. 

Additionally, CSG will begin preparing for the effects of the 2020 presidential elections on campus life by collaborating with Intergroup Relations, Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs and the Trotter Multicultural Center to ensure campus climate remains safe and inclusive.

“We are looking to figure out how we make sure student leaders are most respective when it comes to conversations (regarding the election) within their organizations and throughout campus throughout the next year,” Gerstein said.

Gerstein also hopes to create a new executive position to oversee government relations. This position will focus on ensuring the voices of University students are heard on a state and federal governmental level.

“The reason we are having that (position) is to try and create and find new ways to make sure our student body is heard at the state level and at the federal level,” Gerstein said. “It’s important we make sure our voices are heard, especially regarding federal issues that impact the students.”

Other summer projects included creating a tri-fold CSG flyer to help students better understand the functions of CSG and thus know how to utilize the Assembly more effectively. Their goal is to reach out to students and build a stronger connection with the constituency.

CSG also created reusable grocery bags for Beyond the Diag, increased student tutoring resources and expanded North Campus resources. With construction beginning on North Campus, Blanchard said CSG hopes to make decisions on ways to improve North Campus health and wellness services.

Taylor Lansey, CSG treasurer and LSA junior, discussed this year’s plan for the Student Organization Funding Committee on behalf of the chair, Business senior Crede Strauser. Lansey said funding will be distributed via nine application waves throughout the school year, the first of which will open Wednesday, Sept. 4 night at 5 p.m. and close at the same time next Wednesday, Sept. 11. 

SOFC projections for this fall include an aggregated request for $600,000, a 22.6 percent increase from last fall, as well as a projected request of $1.1 million for winter 2020. 

This year SOFC will be rolling out “SOFC 101,” a workshop in which organizations can learn about the complex 14-page application required to request funding for specific events or funds such as hosting cultural and volunteer events, guest speakers and transportation and supplies for events. 

“This year, we’re adding a workshop for authorized signers of student organizations to attend prior to the funding application titled ‘SOFC 101’ intended to serve as an educational seminar so organization can take advantage of the resources we offer,” Lansey said. “This will maximize the opportunity that organizations have to receive funding by creating a more fair basis in which all student organizations will begin the funding application process with the same information.”

There will be at least one workshop prior to every application wave. However, this weekend, SOFC is hosting four workshops to start off the year before beginning workshops every other Sunday.