At its Tuesday assembly meeting, Central Student Government announced a new mental health survey that will be distributed to University of Michigan faculty and brought a resolution to the floor that aims to attract more freshmen students to the body.
The mental health survey aims to gauge faculty perception of student mental health, and is the first year the faculty has conducted one on issues of mental health. The results will be publicly available at a date to be announced.
The survey was postponed from last week due to the events of the previous week, when racially charged fliers were found around campus, inciting students to protest. Earlier that day, faculty members collected on the Diag in solidarity with Black students.
The body also heard from the president of Building a Better Michigan, a student advisory group providing input on various new renovations on campus, about planned renovations to the Michigan Union.
Diversity and first-year students
The body also considered a resolution to increase the number of freshmen students on the assembly.
LSA representative Joe Hansel, an LSA senior who helped to author the resolution, said increasing new student perspectives on the body is crucial for its diversity.
“We want a first-year voice inside these divisions,” Hansel said. “I would love to see legislation for these students related to orientation, I would love to see legislation related to transfer student experiences, in terms of academics and student life.”
Increasing first-year students’ presence was also discussed at the body’s first fall meeting in September. At the time, CSG President David Schafer, an LSA senior, mentioned it as part of its overall plan to increase diversity on the body.
LSA senior Anna Wibbelman, president of Building a Better Michigan, addressed the assembly about plans for future renovations of University of Michigan buildings over the next several years.
The Michigan Union will be renovated the year after the bicentennial celebrations conclude in 2018. The NCRB will be the next recreational building to be enhanced, and the CCRB will be the last building to be improved between 2021 and 2022.
The organization works with students and architects to improve facilities on campus, including the North Campus Recreation Building, the Central Campus Recreation Building and the Union.
“We want spaces that have a lot of light and energy in these buildings and not spaces where we feel trapped and uncomfortable,” Wibbelman said.
She said the Union renovations will primarily focus on the first and second floors, adding in more functional work spaces that meet student needs.
“There will be places for student orgs to reserve rooms for big meetings to work and bounce ideas off one another and see that visual connectedness, see what another organization is doing right next to them and maybe talk to them about collaborating on an event,” Wibbelman said.
She noted that while these buildings are in need of more large-scale updates, there is not enough money in the budget to support these more significant renovations. She added that most of the budget will go toward improvements that do not affect students, and only 30 percent of the renovations will directly affect the student experience.
“A lot of the money that we are paying is going toward things like contingencies, architect fees, to fix the plumbing and the walls because the buildings are so broken, and so we are only realizing that 30 percent of the money that we are giving to these funds are going toward things that we are going to feel,” Wibbelman said.
Wibbelman added that, due to the lack of funding, the NCRB will be a lower caliber renovation compared to the IMRB improvements. By increasing University investments, student fees, fundraising and student support through student government, the budget can be expanded, according to Wibbelman.
She also stressed the importance of student voice in Building a Better Michigan’s future initiative, noting that the organization has arranged for the architect of the projects to meet with 25 to 30 student clubs on campus to hear their opinions.
“If we don’t consult students who actually use the buildings, then they aren’t going to function for students,” Wibbelman said.