The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, passed three new bills during the Oct. 21 General Assembly, or GA, meeting.
The bills allocated to move a part of the general funds to the central staff funding for First Generation Appreciation Week, formed an Internship Study Ad-Hoc Committee and condemned the reinstitution of the Global Experience Requirement, or GER, within the College of Education.
Prior to introducing the new bills, Provost Teresa Woodruff was invited to speak on updates of various bills from last year and answer questions from the General Assembly.
First Generation Appreciation Week
Bill 58-30 allocates to transfer $1,352 in funding from the general fund to the central staff for First Generation Appreciation Week and passed after much debate.
The bill was seconded by College of Arts and Letters Rep. Case Dekoning, who introduced the bill explaining that First Generation Appreciation Week originally was allocated $750 in funding. The new fundings will be used for merchandise to increase awareness and encourage first-generation students to attend the events throughout the week.
“This is the third year planning this event and we want to make sure that we are planning an event that is bigger every year to encompass as many students who identify as first-gen,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Aaron Iturralde said.
Other GA members including Vice President for Internal Administration Jordan Kovach and College of Veterinary Medicine Rep. Travis Boling shared that they appreciated their experience when attending the First Generation Appreciation Week as freshmen and support the bill.
“I would urge you to support this bill as a first-generation student myself,” School of Communication Arts and Sciences Rep. Maxim Jenkins said. “I think events like this are very important to both foster a welcoming atmosphere for students who probably don’t really have that much support in the first place to kind of know what’s going on, and events like this can kind of help them navigate really complex collegiate structures.”
However, Lyman Briggs College Rep. Zaaki Mandwee showed dissent from the bill.
“I don’t think we show our appreciation for first-generation students by handing out t-shirts ,” Mandwee said. “I’m not in favor of increasing the budget for this First Generation Appreciation Week because, in all honesty, it’s not doing much for the first-generation students. So, something to keep in mind that if we actually do want to help these students and give an atmosphere that is welcoming, this is not the way to do it.”
Iturralde reiterated that First Generation Appreciation Week is not just about handing merchandise to students, it will include but isn’t limited to holding a roundtable discussion on Tuesday to encourage first-generation students to speak out about their experiences and have a resource panel partnering with Career Services and TRIO on Wednesday to educate students about available resources on campus.
Internship Study Ad-Hoc Committee
Bill 58-31 passed unanimously to form an Internship Study Ad-Hoc Committee.
Iturralde, College of Agricultural and Natural Resouces Rep. Lauren Sawyer, College of Communication Arts and Sciences Jack Harrison and College of Engineering Ishwari Kapale discussed this bill with The Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Mark Largent and he showed interest in the bill.
Sawyer seconded the bill and spoke on the reasoning for her support.
“Internship reform is a significant issue happening on campus and needs to be addressed, and student support is needed which would be done through an ad-hoc committee for internships and this is a great first step,” Sawyer said.
As a result of the bill passing, ASMSU will form the Internship Study Ad-Hoc Committee that will conduct a campus-wide study on the diverse undergraduate internship experiment to suggest legislation to improve the undergraduate internship experience.
The committee will be co-chaired by two people: Iturralde and another representative chosen through an election facilitated by Iturralde.
Global Experience Requirement in the College of Education
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Bill 58-32 passed, disapproving of the reinstitution of the GER in the Global Educators Cohort Program, or GECP, within the College of Education.
Although in the College of Arts and Letters, Dekoning introduced the bill because friends in the same cohort expressed their issues. College of Education Rep. Ella Woehlke seconded the bill as well.
The College of Education includes two tracks: urban education or global education. Members of the GECP were informed that they no longer had to complete the required travel abroad amid the pandemic. This month, the cohort received an email explaining that they needed to arrange travel abroad before the year was over or risk not graduating with the certification.
“A lot of them especially were really hurt because they had plans to travel abroad that were canceled by the university because of the pandemic,” Dekoning said. “So on top of the financial stress, the emotional stress and the academic stress of it all there hasn’t been that much communication.”
ASMSU will advocate to the College of Education that current undergraduate seniors within the GECP will be exempt from the GER for the 2021-2022 academic year.
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