SGA announces plans for State of the Student Body Address at committee



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SGA President Jazmin Biernat answers questions of the trustees on Feb. 15 in the Bovvee University Center Conference Room.


Student Government Association leaders presented tentative plans for a State of the Student Body address at the Trustee-Liaison Student Committee meeting, part of the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees, in the President's Conference Room on Wednesday at the Bovee University Center.

SGA President Jazmin Biernat said the address is tentatively scheduled for April 3. Biernat said they plan to open the address to the public and broadcast the event on News Central 34 and live on the SGA Facebook page.

The may include a committee showcase, an update on community relations, Biernat's formal address, an award presentation for staff and administration, and an open question forum.

"The purpose of the State of the Student Body is to provide CMU and the surrounding community with an update on what it is that we are working on and what we can do for the community," said Anna Owens, SGA vice president.

Former SGA President Chuck Mahone held the first State of the Student Body address in February 2016 in the Powers Ballroom.

Members also discussed SGA's plans for Earth Day and its goals for Greek Week, student concerns and recent advocacy efforts during the committee meeting. Biernat said SGA also plans to introduce a medical amnesty policy which would provide students an avenue to be excused from class if they experience a long-term medical absence.

Advocacy

Biernat said SGA is looking into adopting an Election Day absence forgiveness policy. Members of SGA wants students to be excused from tests or projects due on Election Day so they can travel home to vote, or have time to vote during the day.

Senators spent time tabling at specific events with a suggestion box to see if students want anything changed or improved upon on campus, Biernat said. Among the suggestions were requests for more parking, longer library hours and better treatment toward sexual assault survivors.

In terms of city outreach, the Governmental Affairs Committee and city of Mount Pleasant are working on the Crawford Road Pathway Project. The project was created in memoriam for deceased CMU student Ryan Tsatsos.

Tsatsos was killed in a hit-and-run incident in November 2015 on Crawford Road. Biernat, who agreed the road is not well-lit, said the city is working with SGA to gather student feedback surveys to look at possible options.

Two options include more lights or better lighting on walkways to and from campus, as well as a cut-through path to campus, Biernat said.

On the Gender and Sexuality Center front, SGA established an ad-hoc committee which meets Monday nights following SGA's regular meeting time, Biernat said. The committee works to get student support behind the center and distribute information to offices and organizations. The new center would combine the existing Office of LGBTQ+ Services, located in the lower level of the Bovee UC, with a proposed Women's Center in the same physical location. 

Biernat said SGA has been working on implementing a women's center for the past four-to-five years. Work on the project now is "the culmination of all that building up to now."

"There's a very large student movement that's growing behind it," she said.

Earth Week and Greek Life

Biernat also gave updates on other SGA sponsored events, including an Earth Week celebration planned for April 17-22. It will be a collaboration between Student Environmental Alliance and Take Back the Tap, aiding campus and citywide cleanup days, along with presentations from speakers and musicians.

Members of the Residence Hall Assembly and Greek Life also gave updates to the trustees in attendance, such as Patricia Mooradian, William Kanine and Michael Sandler.

Max Sarvello, a representative from Greek Life, said the goal for this year's Greek Week is to raise more than the $67,000 it raised last year for the Derrick Nash Strong Foundation. Greek Week 2017 proceeds will benefit the Isabella County Child Advocacy Center and the Kristy Malter Memorial Fund. 

Sarvello said the goal is to split the funds and distribute it to each.


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