The University’s student governments are looking to regroup and move forward this year as each school heads its own projects and increases cooperative efforts.
LSA-SG wants to make degree more attractive
Initiatives for some of the larger organizations, such as LSA Student Government and Rackham Student Government, want to increase the student enjoyment at the University and improve prospects for the future.
Sagar Lathia, president of LSA Student Government, said he’s hoping to use this year as an opportunity to rebrand the University’s largest school.
Lathia said many LSA students have been wary of their future job prospects compared to students from the more technical or specific programs. He wants to better inform underclassmen of the resources and opportunities within LSA, to help them see the long-term benefits of an LSA degree.
“Hitting it on both fronts, I think, will comfort people in the sense that they’re already in the major that they love but knowing that they can do what they want and they have the support of LSA to get to their career goals is something that I think LSA students will really, really appreciate,” Lathia said.
He added that LSA-SG plans to have alumni involved in the rebranding campaign as well, to give students real-life examples of their future options.
Additional LSA-SG projects include reorganizing the budget to a rolling budget —which Lathia says should allow them to fund more student organizations — and continuing to address student needs presented through the online forum.
Graduate student leaders work on housing, faculty relations
The Rackham Student Government has already been very active this year, specifically on housing for graduate students, under the direction of RSG President Phil Saccone. RSG worked with University administration on the Munger Residence Hall at a forum last month, but Saccone said the RSG has even more on the horizon.
As early as next week, RSG will work with the Washtenaw Area Apartment Association on gathering student input on their apartment-leasing ordinance, Saccone said. He added that RSG is trying to determine student opinion on possible changes to the current law, which takes apartments off the market for 70 days following a lease signing.
“I suspect that they would be at least in favor of keeping the current ordinance and not extending the amount of time because it puts a lot of pressure on students to make a decision in a relatively short period of time,” Saccone said.
RSG also looks to build better student-faculty relations in the graduate school, improve the resources in the career center and implement instructor evaluations online, he said.
Other governments are heading similar efforts in their respective schools. The Public Health Student Assembly, led by President Cameron Glenn, will seemingly start from scratch this year to try and emphasize collaboration between the Public Health departments and an increasingly diverse student body.
Engineering Council working on syllabus database
Engineering Council President Cristine Zuchora is working on an online syllabus database for the engineering school to meet an overdue request from students.
Earlier this year, LSA Student Government leaders launched their own archive of syllabi, the result of a two year effort.
The Engineering Council is also working to amplify connections with student organizations and help the groups’ funding.
Across the board, student government presidents said they are pleased with the resources they have and can reach their own goals individually. Still, many acknowledged that more collective action could be beneficial to the student governments and the University overall.
While in the past collaboration between Central Student Government and the various individual governments may have been lacking, the presidents are looking to increase partnership this year.
CSG President Michael Proppe said there is room for increased collaboration on some larger projects, calling LSA’s segregated efforts in improving digital access to syllabi as a “missed opportunity” for unity.
In the past, individual student governments have primarily focused on their own agendas and rarely on campus-wide initiatives, Proppe said.
“It’s kind of a two-way street,” he said. “The other student governments come to us as well as making sure we’re going to the other student governments to uphold that communication.”
Proppe added that better organization of the University Council, headed by CSG Vice President Robert Dishell, should allow for more joint projects in the coming years.
Proppe said collaboration has seen results so far this year, noting Rackham Student Government’s forum on the Munger Residence Hall, appeals against the new football seating policy and expressed concerns about the presidential search committee.