In its final meeting before Spring Break, the Central Student Government Assembly cemented its support of the “Hail and Unite” spirit song, in addition to listening to a proposal for the body to fund promotional materials for a new food donation program.
Hail and Unite
The new spirit song, which had been discussed at the previous two assembly meetings, made a third appearance Tuesday night as “Hail and Unite” creator Mike Weinberg, an LSA senior, reintroduced a resolution for CSG to endorse the project.
In a vote following Weinberg’s presentation to the assembly, which included the screening of a promotional video for the movement, the resolution passed.
When the “Hail and Unite” team first introduced the project, they asked the assembly for $2,750 to fund the promotional video — a resolution that was referred to the finance committee.
However, because Weinberg and his team felt that “Hail and Unite” accrued negative feedback from the University community following its launch, they withdrew the resolution from CSG’s consideration.
“We decided that given what was happening, we should just start over, come back in so I could explain the real story, and clarify what exactly ‘Hail and Unite’ is,” Weinberg said in an interview with The Michigan Daily.
The new resolution asked CSG for its endorsement, not funding, and includes language to express that the goal of the project is to unite and energize the University community. This addition responds to concerns that the spirit song would replace “The Victors.”
Weinberg, and Business sophomore Adam Weiss, a CSG representative who introduced the original “Hail and Unite” resolution, wrote the new legislation.
“We really wanted to clarify that ‘The Victors’ and what we are doing couldn’t be further apart,” Weinberg said.
He declined to disclose which organizations have guaranteed support for the song, though he said he is in negotiations with a variety of departments and schools at the University.
Now that the resolution has passed, Weinberg said he wants to continue to share accurate information about what “Hail and Unite” actually is with the University community.
“If we heard that someone was trying to do something with ‘The Victors’ or a fight song, or something that wasn’t completely organic to the University of Michigan, we would be furious too,” he said. “I ask that people be willing to listen and hear what we’re actually doing.”
Blue Bucks Donation Program
As the only order of new business, the assembly also discussed a new resolution to provide publicity funding for the new Blue Bucks Donation Program.
Authored by CSG representative Matt Fidel, an LSA sophomore, the resolution asks CSG to transfer a total of $300 to the Student Life Marketing and Communications Department for advertising materials to promote the program. The resolution was sent to the CSG Resolutions Committee for proofreading and will be discussed again on March 10.
The initiative, which has already been approved by the Office of Student Life, will enable students to donate their leftover Blue Bucks and Dining Dollars at stores around campus — such as Victors and U-go’s — to a fund that will be used to purchase and donate items to Food Gatherers of Ann Arbor.
Food Gatherers provides fresh produce and hot meals to low-income adults and families in the Washtenaw County area.
In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Fidel said he conceptualized the program after he and his friend noticed they often wasted their unused Dining Dollars and Blue Bucks on unnecessary items.
“One day my friend and I thought of the idea of going to the West Quad pantry and Victors and buying a whole bunch of food, loading up our car and driving the food down to a local food pantry,” he said.
From there, Fidel presented the idea to administrators in the Office of Student Life, and collaborated with them to create a plan for the program. He said one of the bigger obstacles during the planning process was finding a way to use leftover Dining Dollars because the University budget allots potential space for profit from the untouched “currency” at the end of each year.
“It was a pretty big hurdle getting around donating unused Dining Dollars,” he said. “It took some creative outside of the box thinking to create a program where we are actually supporting campus stores and donating to food gatherers.”
Fidel said he believes having a robust food donation program on campus is important because it is vital that students have a way to give back to the community.
“By having a program like this, students are able to engage with the greater Ann Arbor community, and students will even be able to help other students on campus because the student run food pantry will be benefitting from this program as well,” he said.
Aside from providing financial support for advertising, Fidel is hopeful CSG will continue to be a platform for the program when it launches after Spring Break.
“I think the program is just a great example of how CSG can gain the attention of administrators and really bring ideas to the forefront of University officials,” he said.