The University Central Student Government convened for the first meeting of the semester on Tuesday evening to discuss the veto of the student funding resolution from last semester and the upcoming INNOVATE competition.
CSG President Anushka Sarkar reiterated her veto of the A.R. 7-026 resolution on Dec. 15 that proposed the University compensate CSG members for their time and their work.
“I support the spirit of the resolution and I believe in financial support in compensation for just labor as we and other student governments do, but I take issue with some of the specifics of how the resolution would actually impact students in CSG and the organization’s integrity,” she said.
Sarkar emphasized approving the resolution would publicize the socioeconomic status of the individual CSG representatives. Additionally, she noted receiving pay from an external source could influence internal decisions; as a solution, Sarkar mentionedshe is planning on working with the Office of Student Life to reach a just resolution, possibly by offering free tuition to serving executive members rather than by compensating all individual CSG members.
CSG also emphasized their launch of INNOVATE, the very first university-wide public service pitch competition, and discussed how to publicize the event and reach a larger audience. LSA senior Cassie Fields, CSG communications director, explained how students will be given the opportunity to work with mentors on their project ideas in an email sent to The Daily.
“The upcoming public service pitch competition, INNOVATE, creates opportunities for students to further their efforts in public service, entrepreneurship, and other issues they are passionate about,” Fields wrote. “Students will be given the chance to network with other students to form teams, listen to speakers, and receive guidance from mentors on their proposed ideas. Following multiple rounds of judging, the top teams will be awarded funding from CSG, the Center for Entrepreneurship, and University of Michigan Library to continue their work.”
Many representatives were elected to new positions, including LSA sophomore Isabel Baer and LSA freshman Pragya Thakur, Baer to vice speaker of the Assembly and Thakur to chair of academic affairs commission.
Baer emphasized how her experience in CSG has encouraged her to speak up and feel confident in voicing her opinions, and spoke of her plans to implement a mentorship program within CSG to better ease the transition for new members, in her position as Vice Speaker of the Assembly.
“I want to be your Vice Speaker so I can help the transitions for new reps. I also want to help every representative navigate all the opportunities at their disposable and get involved in topics from sustainability, mental health, campus climate and campus safety. One of the initiatives I am really passionate about organizing at vice speaker is a mentor mentee program with old and new reps. I believe having those relationships would be mutually beneficial and long lasting,” she said.
LSA junior Sujay Shetty, chief of staff to the president and Engineering senior AJ Ashman, chief of staff to the vice president, announced their resignation due to conflict of interest in their plans to run for executive ticket offices, effective Jan. 15. Both reflected on their time and positive experience at CSG, and Ashman emphasized the importance of the organization.
“The potential to bring about change on this campus is not equal to anywhere else besides this room,” he said.
CSG aims to implement change this semester by reaching out to larger audiences through social media strategies such as Facebook networking, and by hosting office hours to meet with constituents and improve their communication and transparency with their operations.