Monday, October 19, 2020

ASMSU members sworn in, pass one bill in first fall meeting

September 9, 2020

The 57th General Assembly, or GA, session of the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, held their first meeting of the fall semester Thursday night via Zoom.

Members of the GA and the Office of the President were sworn in and one bill was passed.

The swearing-in ceremony traditionally takes place in the spring following elections, but was postponed after the cancellation of in-person classes due to COVID-19. ASMSU President Abii-Tah Bih improvised and delivered the ceremony over Zoom.

“I know it’s a bit weird in Zoom, but I’m unapologetic about it and really happy that we did this,” Bih said.

ASMSU also passed a bill approving the organization's new director of IT Nichole Dastmalchi and director of marketing Spencer Horan. The motion passed unanimously.

The OOTP announced initiatives for a pilot calculator send home program and distribution of door decals with voting information to off-campus students. They are also finalizing a digital readership program that includes USA TODAY, the Lansing State Journal and the Detroit Free Press. ASMSU's current readership program gives students free access to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The GA was given presentations from Student Affairs & Services, or SAS, and Counseling & Psychiatric Services, or CAPS.

Following a prompt from Vice President for Student Allocations Dylan Catalano, MSU's Vice President and Associate Provost for SAS Denise Maybank addressed the opportunity for additional funding for the SOS COVID-19 Fund.

“There is plenty of need, there are people who are really disappointed and hurt that they didn’t get resources…” Maybank said. “There is opportunity here, our students need resources in these times because they’re not working.”

SAS has awarded 873 people money from the fund, which was partially funded from ASMSU, who contributed $135,000.

International Students Association representative Nikunj Agarwal asked the SAS representatives about considerations for international students, Maybank said that she asked registered student organizations to consider time differences for international students when scheduling meetings and events.

Director of CAPS Mark Patishnock shared information on the new process for service scheduling, which has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The process starts by accessing their website, followed by a phone conversation from which the need for ongoing services at CAPS is determined. Patishnok said that the number of people seeking services increased by 30-40% due to this change.

“We’re thinking that asking students to go to our website and click a button kind of removed some barriers that were there for some students,” Patishnok said. “We also know that culturally, walking into a building that’s a clinical building, walking right up to a healthcare assistant or receptionist and asking for help can be very daunting.”

The next GA meeting will take place Sep. 17 and the fall election to fill the empty seats in the assembly will start Oct. 5.

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