SGA adopts two bills on service learning, sustainability orientation

Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer President George Ross and Provost E. Gary Shapiro look over last meeting mintues during the Academic Senate meeting Tuesday afternoon in Pearce Hall.

The Student Government Association adopted a flurry of legislation Monday night, as three separate bills were presented and two were fully endorsed.

A resolution to support the establishment of a global access licensing policy at Central Michigan University that would allow medicine and other inventions developed under research by the university to be accessible to those in underdeveloped countries was passed in the House, but has not been passed in Senate.

With development of the medical school in full swing, Universities Allied for Essential Medicine, a registered student organization on campus that works to construct new, creative approaches to improving the development and delivery of public health goods, argued that global licensing is essential for the future of the university.

Global licensing would essentially dual-license medication and technology developed by the university. While companies in developed countries would sell medicine at a standard price, a generic brand would also be developed that would be sold exclusively in underdeveloped countries, at a price consistent with the average income. This would make essential medicines that were previously unaffordable accessible.

Pratik Chhetri, a graduate student who is a part of Universities Allied for Essential Medicine, said introducing affordable medicine to underdeveloped countries would not be for the university's profit.

"Universities are not pharmaceutical companies," Chhetri said. "We are not for-profit. We are supposed to deal with these problems."

Two other resolutions, one in support of increased service learning opportunities, and the other, a resolution to implement a sustainability orientation at CMU, were also fully endorsed.

The legislation concerning service learning and a sustainability orientation were passed overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate Monday night. While the legislation concerning a global access licensing policy was passed with a majority vote in the House, the Senate has yet to vote on the resolution.

The resolution supporting increased service learning is the latest step in an effort by three SGA senators, graduate students Jonathan Schuler, Binu Prabhakaran and Michelle Steidemann, to establish more service learning opportunities on campus.

Service learning is a method of teaching that combines academic learning with a related service in the community. This often includes students working with a charitable organization, a philanthropic branch or a business.

"We are really glad that this has gained student support," Prabhakaran said. "This says that students do support this. We can go to the university and say 'students want this.'"

The senators have also organized a petition drive and hope to receive 5,000 signatures by Thursday.

The third piece of legislation, sponsored by Campus Grow, Student Environmental Alliance, the SGA Sustainability Committee, Take Back The Tap and the Wildlife Society, calls for the implementation of a sustainability orientation before the beginning of the fall semester.

The orientation would mirror other successful orientations such as No Zebras No Stripes and Campus Life and the Law.

"Promoting a sustainable lifestyle would increase interest in student enrollment and retention and would make Central Michigan University a leader in educating students in sustainability," the legislation reads.


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