The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government convened Tuesday night to introduce resolutions during their first meeting of the academic school year. Initiatives discussed included amendments to the compiled code, funding for various University Career Center events and efforts to improve safety features in academic buildings around campus.
CSG President Daniel Greene, a Public Policy senior, first summarized efforts made over the summer to improve campus and student life. There are also changes being made to the CSG executive board, including the addition of two new positions this semester. These positions, executive diversity officer and external relations officer, will be implemented this semester, then evaluated as to whether or not these positions are effective.
“If we find it productive and to the benefit of the student body, then we will propose an amendment to the constitution to ensure that CSG in the long term can better commit itself to DEI, inclusivity and also student organization collaboration efforts long term,” Greene said.
Additionally, CSG Vice President Izzy Baer, an LSA junior, explained recent updates intended to improve accommodations for students with dietary restrictions in the University dining halls.
From listing ingredients listed for each food item to EpiPen training administered to all dining staff, these changes aim to make all students comfortable eating in the dining halls regardless of diet. It was also announced that hydration stations will be available again this football season, providing students with water, snacks and portable phone chargers throughout the day to better ensure student safety during these high-risk events.
A resolution introduced during the assembly addressed the need for a basic centralized room reservation information site for general student use on campus. Using an online database, this service would provide students with a list of available study spaces on campus they could reserve for work or meetings.
Rackham student Austin Glass said first-year and transfer students are especially disadvantaged in terms of having established connections to resources that provide spaces to study and congregate.
“This is more of a call to action rather than a specific action that I’m asking CSG to take,” Glass said. “In this case I’m asking (student organizations) to all look into a very simple resource that would present to students rooms that are available for reservation.”
Upon consideration, these rooms would be available in three areas on campus where student residences are concentrated, including North Campus, the Hill neighborhood, and South Quad.
A resolution funding the Buses to Ballots initiative, which aims to increase voter participation and accessibility among students on election day, by providing shuttle buses to off-campus polling stations incited much conversation. Many students have class on election day and cannot afford to spend time waiting in long lines to vote.
“We already have the routes laid out, as well as the number of impacted students, which would be a huge number,” said Rackham student Nicholas Fadanelli.
Other initiatives have been enacted to alleviate this issue, including ride-sharing app Lyft’s offer to provide voters with free rides to polling places this November. Some representatives said one problem many students face, in addition to a lack of time, is the inability to pay to get from campus to a local polling place. Engineering senior AJ Ashman spoke to the assembly about his past experience traveling far distances to vote, citing large fees to get from one location to the other.
“In my mind … the fact that there is a cost to go to vote, seems to be kind of like a poll tax to me,” Ashman said. “I think this (initiative) is going to turn out to be a very good opportunity for us.”