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ASMSU holds first fall semester meeting, new leadership within organization

August 29, 2017
From left to right, Vice President for Academic Affairs Ewurama Appiagyei-Dankah, Vice President for Student Allocations Stephen Brown, Vice President for Finance and Operations Dan Iancio, President Lorenzo Santavicca, Vice President for Internal Administration Katherine Rifiotis clap during an ASMSU meeting on Aug. 27, 2017 at Student Services. ASMSU is the undergraduate student government of MSU.
From left to right, Vice President for Academic Affairs Ewurama Appiagyei-Dankah, Vice President for Student Allocations Stephen Brown, Vice President for Finance and Operations Dan Iancio, President Lorenzo Santavicca, Vice President for Internal Administration Katherine Rifiotis clap during an ASMSU meeting on Aug. 27, 2017 at Student Services. ASMSU is the undergraduate student government of MSU. —
Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, held a general assembly meeting Monday afternoon. The meeting — packed with new and returning members of the general assembly — marked the organization's first gathering of the fall semester.

ASMSU's first meeting of its 54th session took place last spring, where new members of the Office of the President were elected, and Lorenzo Santavicca was re-elected as the organization's president.

Change in ASMSU's leadership for fall semester includes four new members of the Office of the President and a new adviser.

Social relations and policy senior Ewurama Appiagyei-Dankah is ASMSU's new vice president for academic affairs. She said she hopes to tackle sexual assault and open textbook issues.

"One of the big initiatives that I'm working on is open textbooks," Appiagyei-Dankah said. "I just really think that textbook affordability is something that is really important and it is a huge barrier to student success, so I'd really like to have some faculty members adopt open textbooks."

Open textbooks are essentially online textbooks, Appiagyei-Dankah said. She said switching to open textbooks could save students a great deal of money. 

Appiagyei-Dankah is also interested in working on different methods to tackle campus sexual assault, and said  she is excited to see where discussions go. 

Finance junior Dan Iancio is ASMSU's new vice president for finance and operations. Iancio runs all of ASMSU's services, including Safe Ride, the Bike Share program, iClicker and graphing calculator rentals and more.

One of Iancio's main focuses will be Safe Ride. He said he hopes to negotiate better pricing for students. Currently, Safe Ride's program is funded by a student tax, which costs each student $2.

"It's obviously Safe Ride's first year in operation," Iancio said. "So we're really looking to kind of see how the program's running."

Iancio said as more students learn about Safe Ride, participation in the program increases.

The MSU student community can expect more initiatives to be "coming down the pipeline," Iancio said.

"The university would like us, as a student body, to kind of pose initiative for regional mobility," he said. "So that would be Lansing, East Lansing, the greater — just kind of community here — to get to Michigan State."

He said this initiative will take time to complete. 

International relations senior Tyler VanHuyse is ASMSU's new vice president for governmental affairs. According to the bio on ASMSU's website, VanHuyse represents students in local, state and federal governments and works with ASMSU Governmental Affairs. Some of VanHuyse's main focuses are higher education funding, affordable and fair student housing and voter registration.

Supply chain management senior Stephen C. Brown is ASMSU's new vice president for student allocations. According to the bio on ASMSU's website, Brown is chair of the ASMSU Student Allocations Board, which provides funding for Registered Student Organizations, research grants and groups within the Council of Racial and Ethnic Students and the Council of Progressive Students groups.

Returning members of the Office of the President are Lorenzo Santavicca, president, Katherine "Cookie" Rifiotis, vice president for internal administration and Lauren Fish, chief of staff.

Assistant Director of Student Life Erik Maillard will serve as ASMSU's new adviser. In his first year as ASMSU's adviser, he said he hopes to create an inclusive general assembly.

"I really want to make sure that we ultimate voices, we make sure everyone's voice is being heard clearly and understood," Maillard said.

The meeting started with members of MSU administration who welcomed new general assembly members to ASMSU. 

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Guests included Executive Director of the MSU Alumni Association Scott Westerman, Vice President for Student Affairs and Services Denise Maybank and Assistant Vice Presidents for Student Affairs and Services Terrence Frazier and Allyn Shaw.

The organization will have a booth at Tuesday's Sparticipation event for students interested in learning more. ASMSU's next meeting will take place Thursday at 7 p.m.

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