In its first meeting of the term, the Michigan Student Assembly discussed ways to tighten the link between MSA and its constituents, and to escape the stigma that “the only time (students) see representatives is when they come around and say ‘hey, vote for me,’ during election time,” recalled Liz Mullane, MSA treasurer.

“It’s important to establish communication and let students know that MSA serves a purpose,” she said.

To carry out this plan, representatives voted to attend student group meetings and discussed repeating the airBus service to Detroit Metro Airport during Spring Break.

On Sunday, airBus coordinators “went to the airport and made sure people got their trips home for a considerable, reduced price,” MSA Communications Committee Chair Pete Woiwode said yesterday.

During Winter Break, MSA airBus collected $1,500 by providing low-fare airport transportation to students, and the assembly plans to pump all its revenue back into bolstering the service for the spring.

“It’s not so much our image as our relationship with students,” MSA Communications Vice Chair Courtney Skiles said. “It’s putting (our representatives) in the student life and forcing reps to do what they were elected to do.”

MSA easily passed the motion to pair its members with student groups. The resolution stipulated that all representatives “attend one executive board meeting of a student group” each semester, as well as “remain in contact with the … group.”

“It’s an easy way for MSA reps to be out there meeting” groups, Mullane said. “It’s such a simple requirement for what everyone says they’re here to do.”

MSA President Sarah Boot emphasized the need for student outreach, encouraging representatives to take on “pet projects” and make themselves available to students during weekly office hours in the Union.

“Just being in the office for an hour would create a presence,” Boot said.

“If they come in and all the lights are off they’ll be like, ‘what the heck does MSA do anyway if they’re not even here?'” MSA Vice President Dana Glassel added.

Several representatives advocated an activist viewpoint, stating that MSA should involve itself more heavily in student affairs.

“It’s not this assembly’s business … to stay out of the fray. We should jump right into the fray,” said Peace and Justice Committee member Jackie Bray.

Finally, MSA voted to provide funds for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Association social, “Fab: the Remix,” in February.

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