Student Government works on programs
With the fall semester wrapping up, Student Government is working on several initiatives to improve the student experience at Eastern Michigan University. Student Body President Mathew Norfleet recently gave an update on several programs his administration is developing.
24-hour computer lab
This year, the 24-hour computer lab made the move from the Student Center to Halle Library. Norfleet said he feels the change in location provides a more academic environment, instead of the social atmosphere of the Student Center.
“I just think it’s a no-brainer,” Norfleet said.
In a poll conducted by Student Government, about 95 percent of respondents said they’d like to see the 24-hour space in the library available permanently. Yet the space isn’t seeing as much use as Norfleet and his administration would like.
He warned that if attendance didn’t increase, the library space could be closed for certain hours or possibly moved back to the Student Center. According to Norfleet, the 2-7 a.m. time period needs to see the most growth so university administrators will continue to keep the space open.
“Everyone wants something, but they’re not taking advantage of it,” Norfleet said. “It’s not necessarily a guaranteed thing.”
No-additional-cost bus passes
Student Government is also working to authorize unlimited ridership passes at 93 cents per credit hour.
EMU serves a large commuter population, and according to Norfleet as many as 30 percent live along Ann Arbor Transportation Authority routes.
Norfleet said he hopes making bus passes available to students will impact parking levels and help the university’s green initiatives. He also hopes this will encourage students to connect with their community by taking the bus to Ypsilanti and beyond.
“I think that the connectivity to the world around would really have an impact on programming, participation and campus liveliness that we always wanted to have here,” he said.
Norfleet said he and his administration are working with the budget committee to make sure the program is a priority in creating the budget for the 2013-14 school year.
Community meal plans
Norfleet is also working to enable a community meal plan, which would allow students to use dining dollars at various locations off campus.
“I think it would be great for the community, and I think it would be great for EMU,” Norfleet said.
He said he hopes that increasing dining options will encourage more residents to stay on campus for the weekend, and believes that more commuters will be interested in enrolling in meal plans.
Student Government is in discussions with local businesses and various members of the EMU community to work out the details to create a pilot community meal plan program.
Recycled paper initiative
As part of their ongoing sustainability efforts, Student Government is working with the university-wide recycled paper initiative.
Norfleet’s goal is to purchase at least 30 percent recycled paper for Student Government use, as part of an effort to “make us a greener, more sustainable campus.”
New advising software
Student Government has been working with the University Advising and Career Development Center and the Registrar’s Office to set up new, self-auditing, software and streamline registration.
“We’ve been working … to see what the future of advising here looks like,” Norfleet said. “I think the new software will do a lot to make sure students are equipped to self-audit.”
Town hall meetings
Norfleet is also hoping to increase the number of Student Government town hall meetings in the new semester, to give students a place to come and voice concerns.
Earlier this fall, Student Government hosted a town hall meeting on accessibility, with speakers on bus passes, the student organization Bikes EMU and other green transportation initiatives.
Norfleet is hoping to expand the program next semester, and is looking at themes for town hall meetings, as well as increased publicity.
Student conduct reform
The university’s medical amnesty program was a key component of Norfleet’s fall agenda. The program was implemented earlier this year, and Student Government and other organizations worked to inform the student body about the program and dangers of underage drinking.
According to Norfleet, there have been no applications for the medical amnesty program. He credits the increased programming for educating students and decreasing underage drinking on campus.
Civic engagement strategy
One of Student Government’s largest initiatives was their multi-tiered voter registration and education program.
Norfleet and his administration worked to register voters, implement the TurboVote system for voter information and notifications and inform students about candidates and issues on the ballot.
“Moving forward, we want to make sure this is institutionalized,” Norfleet said. “From this year on, EMU will be equipped to make sure every student has the access and the ability to vote in every election.”