LSA SG passes resolutions on light therapy, exam policy

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 10:24pm

University of Michigan LSA Student Government discussed and voted on two resolutions Wednesday night to allocate funding for a light therapy room in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library and to suggest LSA change its current exam policy from allowing students to take a maximum of three exams in one day to two exams in a day. Both the light therapy resolution and the exam policy resolution passed unanimously, with 21 votes in favor and no votes against or abstentions.

The meeting also featured resolutions on free speech in LSA SG and the conditions of the Mason Hall bathrooms — both of which passed — and calling for adequate lighting on North Campus, which was tabled until the first summer session.

Light therapy

In an effort to combat the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder on students during the winter months, LSA SG’s light therapy resolution called for $500 to be allocated to purchase and install artificial lights in the former Children’s Literature Room of the UGLi.

The resolution noted light therapy areas have been designated at Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University and other schools.

The resolution was sponsored by LSA SG President Nicholas Fadanelli, an LSA junior, LSA senior John Steffes and LSA junior Kristen Ball. Steffes said he tried to advocate for putting light therapy bulbs in the dorms a few years ago through LSA SG but it did not pass.

Ball said the implementation of light therapy bulbs at NMU were very beneficial for student mental health.

“When I was at Northern, because it’s really, really cold and dark up north, so our library actually, in the winter, will install HappyLight rooms in the library and have those lights there, so it kind of simulates the sun,” she said. “I thought that might be an alternative to having lights put into your dorms. It’s very beneficial and it would also be very accessible, because you’re not having to reserve a lamp. Everyone can just study in the room.”

LSA sophomore Olive Scott, LSA SG external relations officer, said she suffers from SAD and appreciated the resolution’s dedication to providing assistance for students with SAD.

Health Chair Annie Goettemoeller, an LSA sophomore, said the idea was brought to the health subcommittee and feels it is a step in the right direction for improving mental health at the University.

“I was very excited when Kristen and John brought this up at health (subcommittee) and I think … mental health is something every individual would love to tackle and it’s a huge issue on this campus,” she said. “Although this is a small step, it can have a good impact on the students.”

LSA exam policy

According to the Office of the Registrar, the current LSA policy allows for students with four exams or more on the same day to request the University Final Examination Committee to help rearrange their exam schedules.

The resolution said having to take three finals in one day can negatively impact a student’s ability to succeed on campus.

“Taking three finals within a single day not only affects student stamina, but also is a very stressful experience and detrimental to the mental health of those students,” the resolution read.

There is also a portion of the resolution that states students should not be forced to take more than three exams in one day because exam dates are not disclosed when registering for classes.

The resolution encouraged LSA to reduce the maximum number of possible exams in a single day to two exams.

Eight members of LSA SG, including LSA SG Vice President Ryan Gillcrist, an LSA junior, sponsored the resolution, which has been supported by other student governing bodies.

Anushka Sarkar, current Central Student Government president and an LSA junior, and CSG Vice President Nadine Jawad, a Public Policy junior, said during the Daily’s CSG debate they would like to decrease the number of exams a student can take in one day for the entire University.

One of the primary authors of the resolution, Hanna Simmons, an LSA sophomore, said recent polling efforts of both students and faculty showed a positive response to the proposed exam policy.

“We presented this proposal to the faculty at (LSA) Curriculum Committee and we had some really positive feedback,” she said. “We also polled students during elections and also had some wonderful feedback. I think this is a good step.”