University Council convenes for first time in two years
The University of Michigan Council — an assembly of student government executives from schools across campus — met for the first time in two years Monday evening.
LSA senior Micah Griggs, Central Student Government vice president, convened the meeting to reintroduce the body to the 10 student representatives in attendance, as well as brainstorm goals for the school year. NewMICH, the party Griggs ran with, included reforming the council in its campaign platform during CSG elections last year, though Griggs noted the open nature of the assembly’s structure and goals.
“We can meet to communicate about campus issues and climate, we can debate and vote on legislation … this is what we want to make it,” she said to the group.
After introductions, the University Council discussed meeting structure, each government’s respective goals and the best way for members of the group to support each other. Many newer assemblies — such as those from the College of Engineering and Schools of Kinesiology, Nursing, Information and Music, Theatre & Dance — discussed their struggles to raise awareness. Engineering senior Anavir Shermon, Engineering Student Government vice president, touched on the restructuring of his school’s student assembly and his current work to increase his reach on campus.
“We’re really trying to increase our presence within the student body,” Shermon said in a sentiment echoed by other new executives. “It really goes back to branding and establishment.”
Pharmacy senior Hannah Ward, Pharmacy Student Government president, discussed potential community initiatives like suggestion boxes and town halls. She said she would like the council to discuss basic best practices for governance.
“I’d be interested in how everyone’s government works,” she said. “It’d be cool just to bounce ideas off of each other and see what’s working and what’s not when thinking about moving forward.”
Representatives noted the various assemblies’ overlapping goals and focus areas, including mental health services, diversity and relationships with administration.
“It’s important to have this for student representatives just to communicate,” Griggs said. “I hope we get initiatives done and partner and collaborate.”
Second-year law student Eric Fledderman, Law School Student Senate president, stressed the importance of the council’s cohesion in light of campus incidents, such as March’s anti-Islam Diag chalkings, that affect students from every school.
“We released a statement (after the chalkings), but didn’t really have an in with the undergrads,” he said. “If something like that were to happen again ... we could call a session of everybody and have some unifying message we can tell students from every school. It was a moment we needed some University unity, when campus needed us all.”