At the start of the semester, Student Government had eight of thirteen senate positions open. This fall, all open positions have been filled by first-term senators.
“It’s a big deal,” Student Government vice president Amena Shukairy said. “The more senators we have the more projects we can accomplish.”
In compliance with the Student Government constitution, one senator is permitted for every 500 students on campus. Initially, this requirement was planned to be met by ten undergraduate, two graduate and one Genesee Early College students in an effort to accurately represent UM-Fint’s student population.
Recently, due to a lack of GEC and graduate student senator applications, the number of undergraduates who can be sworn into the senate was changed to twelve.
“I don’t remember a time when we’ve actually ever had a full senate, let alone a full senate with completely new senators,” Shukairy said. “It just shows you how much students want to be involved.”
Wolverine Homecoming parade and dance has been the senate’s main focus so far. “None of it would have been able to happen without them,” Shukairy said.
Looking forward, many projects are being discussed. One senator, Haytham Alqasmi, has proposed bringing back the 24-hour library. Pre-pandemic, the library would be open and available to students for 24 hours a day during finals week and provide breakfast and coffee for those late-night study sessions.
The experiment, which would be sponsored by the Student Government, was forced to stop when COVID began. Low foot traffic, should hear back by Friday.
A couple senators have decided to take a look at mental health. Psychology major Abigail Crawford is interested in the mental health resources available on campus and the ways in which they benefit students. Another, Vice Chair Kelly Parrott, is a veteran focusing her caucus around veterans’ issues and mental health issues. Shukairy reported they are looking to send out a type of care package to interested students, a project that will likely happen late this semester or early next semester.
Another, Senator Alexandria Craven, has a caucus centered around cooking a healthy, easy meal on a college student budget. Craven will be partnering with UM-Flint’s Center for Gender and Sexuality to bring this idea to campus next year.
Senator Jacquindre Brown’s caucus centers around housing. “I’m looking forward to getting a lot of change done when it comes to the betterment of UM students across campus or online,” Brown said. His first project involves surveying housing students to gain a better understanding of what can be done to better their future experiences on campus.
Other efforts include Senator Lina Azeim’s focus on marketing and digital strategy, Senator Abigail Crawford’s focus on Disabilities Rights Advocacy and Senator Jacob Runnels’s focus on student life. As new senators, Logan LaPeen and Trenton Patterson-Proulx had not yet committed to a focus at the time of publication.
The senate is responsible for everything from input to working with the community directly, voting on legislation and providing each of these projects with the funding they need.
“This senate is doing a really good job of really dissecting the bills,” Shukairy said, and ensuring that the money spent and bills passed will benefit students.