From LSA Student Government: Celebrating 10 Years of Problem-Solving

Monday, January 11, 2016 - 3:41pm

We all have things we think suck on campus. Many students simply rant to their friends or internalize their concerns. Most don’t realize there is an avenue to voice their complaints and bring about real results to their issues.

A request for more bike parking at Palmer Commons, a request to expand the availability of covered bike parking on campus and a request for installing more bike repair stations: Other than the obvious fact that these are all about bikes, what do they have in common? Each was a concern students expressed in multiple e-mails sent to LSA Student Government’s “this sucks” e-mail service last semester. Thissucks@umich.edu is an e-mail address created for the student body to directly communicate changes they’d like to see on campus.

As a frequent biker on campus, when I saw an e-mail about the limited number of bike parking spaces in front of Palmer Commons, I decided to take on the project. I reached out to some connections in Facilities, and less than two weeks after the Student Life Committee meeting where I took up the project, I was meeting with Steve Dolen, the University’s director of parking and transportation, to discuss the issue.

During our meeting, it quickly became apparent that a huge underlying obstacle for bicycle parking was the number of abandoned bikes on campus. According to Dolen, approximately 25 percent of all bikes parked on campus are abandoned bikes. The cost of adding that many more parking spots would be hundreds of thousands of dollars. I left that meeting with a project, albeit slightly different than the one we started with, but nonetheless an important one: to reduce the number of abandoned bikes. I am still working on how we can do it, but the thought and effort is being made.

Students often do not have the time or the resources to push for the changes they would like to see on campus. LSA Student Government exists to be the voice of the LSA student body. It is our responsibility to engage with students to find out what issues and projects they think would be most impactful for us to work on.

This past Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of this e-mail system service for the student body. We really have made a difference on campus with your help over the years from these e-mails — buses have increased their route frequency, bathrooms have been redone and minors in religion and entrepreneurship have been implemented, just to name a few.

On another occasion, two of our elected representatives were inspired by a “this sucks” e-mail titled “The Ugly Truth About the UGLI,” which pointed out a need for a feminine hygiene product dispenser in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library. Within a few weeks, a meeting had been secured, money had been found and the idea was implemented. These same representatives are now working with University Health Service to provide feminine hygiene products for free, as is done with condoms.

When it comes to thissucks@umich.edu, no issue is too large or too small for us to address, and we promise to answer every e-mail. We will do everything in our power to address your concerns and work to build a better University for everyone. If you’d like to help LSA-SG celebrate 10 years of problem solving, send us your issues and concerns at thissucks@umich.edu. Your problems are our projects, and that’s how we like it.