This week, ASNMU met on March 16 for their regular meeting to give their routine reports, vote on a proposal for academic days off for mental health and also vote on a resolution about recognizing Election Day as a national holiday.
The meeting began with the first report from ASNMU President Emma Drever. She began the report by sharing how NMU received the “Voter Friendly Campus” award in regards to the efforts they worked on to make it easier for NMU students to vote. They are one of 230 institutions that received this award. One of the projects that ASNMU and others worked on was with the Marquette City Clerk Office to bring a satellite office on-campus where students could register to vote or ask questions.
“We were able to foster strong relationships across campus with student organizations that co-hosted events, professors that let us present in their classes and administrators who offered guidance on future initiatives. It was so impactful to empower our fellow students to take part in their societies by voting because we helped students become confident in their voices,” Drever said in an NMU press release.
She continued her report sharing a recently launched NMU partnership with WeeCare, which will help students and faculty members by assisting them with childcare needs. The partnership offers assistance to help with finding, touring and enrolling in childcare in Marquette. Drever emphasized that for graduate students and others who have children that this will be helpful for them to get the care that they need.
Lastly, Drever shared a proposal that would re-open the grad closet which allows students to borrow caps and gowns for use during the graduation ceremony. The closet, which has been closed since Fall 2019 due to COVID-19, currently has 30 robes and 23 caps for students to borrow. The proposal has been approved and ASNMU is finalizing internal procedures.
“Students reached out to us to find out how to utilize this resource, so we wrote a proposal in order to safely provide. We are hopeful that this project will continue to expand which will allow more students to attend their commencement ceremonies. This year, we hope students share photos of their celebration in their regalia using the #nmugraduation. More information on how to borrow from the grad closet is forthcoming,” Drever said.
The next report was from Bethany Beavers, ASNMU vice president, and she touched on her ongoing work with the Graduate Student Association to assist them in re-writing their bylaws. One of the things the GSA is looking to add is a number of committees to assist in issues relevant to graduate students. The committees include diversity, equity and inclusion, graduate mental health and advocacy, graduate budgeting and finance, and outreach and events committee.
Following the vice president report was a report from Samantha Metcalf, treasurer and Student Finance Committee chairperson, who gave a budget update. She reported that ASNMU currently has $13,503 of its budget remaining and the SFC has $47,928 left to fund student activities.
The last report was from the chair of the assembly, Kylie Lanser who touched on ASNMU’s health week event. The weeklong event starting March 22 and ending March 27 will showcase a number of speakers on various topics related to health. The event will also host a Zumba class and also a presentation from Dr. Laura Santoro, from the U.P. Health System, who will be putting on an LGBTQ+ health presentation.
After the reports was a formal reading and vote on a proposal to close the university for two separate days to help ease the mental stress students have experienced with no spring break. In the proposal, they picked March 31 and April 15 as days that would be good to have off.
“The ASNMU propose university closure on Wednesday, March 31 and Thursday, April 15, or days deemed appropriate, in order to accommodate the health needs of the campus community,” the proposal says.
The group decided on those dates because midweek days would discourage students from traveling and these dates would offer ample time for professors to build accommodations for their classes. While these are the days they decided upon, the proposal also states that President Fritz Erickson could choose other dates at his discretion. ASNMU voted on the proposal and it was approved in an eight to one vote.
The next resolution that the group heard was one focused on increasing voter turnout by calling for Election Day to be considered a national holiday. The resolution would seek to establish a national holiday in the hopes voters would be able to take the day to vote and for poll workers.
“Establishing a holiday on Election Day creates more opportunities to vote for all voters, especially those in the 18-29 demographic who struggle to turnout to the polls,” the proposal says.
The resolution approved unanimously by the group. ASNMU has supported similar efforts in the past to excuse voters and poll workers from class during the 2020 election, but none of the efforts were adopted by the university.
After the resolutions were finished being voted on, Thomas Kettler chair of student affairs, shared a proposed budget to increase the inventory for the grad closet project. The budget would purchase five gowns and 12 caps to help students who might not be able to afford them due to financial constraints. The budget was approved by the group unanimously. The next time the group will meet is on Tuesday, March 30 and will offer in-person and Zoom options to attend. Those interested can sign up on the Hub.