UM-Flint Student Government President Delivers Address

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UM-Flint Student Government president Menusha Arumugam
UM-Flint Student Government president Menusha Arumugam

University of Michigan-Flint Student Government president Menusha Arumugam delivered the annual State of the Student Address October 24. Here is her full speech:

As I went around inviting students for this event, many asked me what is the State of the Student Address?

Well it's free lunch, you get to meet Student Government and hear about what we do. That being said, I would like to ask all Student Government members present to stand up and be recognized. Thank you for all your hard work and commitment to Student Government. Many of our members are not present here today due to conflicting class and work schedules.

Students, these are your representative and we can't do what we're supposed to do without you. We need you and your suggestions. The purpose of student government is to listen to your concerns and work together with our campus administrators to address your concerns.

For example, 2 years ago students expressed their concerns of needing disinfectant wipes in computer labs, Student Government worked with the necessary departments and now we have wipes and sanitizers in computer labs on campus. Another more recent example is when students expressed their need to have a printer in the UCEN. After working with ITS, a new printer is now being purchased and will be installed near the computers on the third floor of the UCEN.

These are only two of the many examples of how your student voice can make a change on campus. Student Government is here to help you make that change. We will sit in those long meetings for you and think of solutions to enrich your student experience.

Those long meetings are most of the time fruitful, thanks to our remarkable group of administrators, staff and faculty on campus that have always been willing to work with us. Thank you for being open to ideas, not being afraid of change and always putting the needs of our students first.

Moving forward, Student Government is looking at continuing our legacy and striving to achieve more. We will continue to provide you with free welcome back t-shirts, blue books, and scantrons. We will continue to support and advocate for the prevention and awareness of sexual assault on campus. We will continue to work alongside out fellow student leaders to ensure that every student feels safe, welcomed and valued on our campus.

Together, we will engage in open dialogues and have discussion on how we can make our campus inclusive for everyone. On that note, I encourage you to take the Campus Climate Survey to share your experience and suggestions to enhance our campus climate. Twenty to thirty minutes of your time can put you into a drawing of getting a $25 Amazon gift card and this is your opportunity to be heard. The link for the climate survey is on the business cards on the tables around this room and there are laptops ready right outside at the check in table for you to complete this survey.

Student Government will continue to provide food at the Bring Your Own Books 88 hour library event. This year we are looking into providing a relaxation space for students. While we all try to do our last minute studying, this relaxation space will potentially be a space for student to wind down or even take a power nap between study sessions. Student Government will also continue to engage with our community by supporting events like Touch A Truck, Alternative Spring Break and the Lula Hurse Thanksgiving Food Giveaway.

Last week, the Senate passed a Resolution for a new position on our executive board. This new position, known as the Director of Foreign Outreach, will serve as a liaison between our SG and the student government of other institutions as well as the Flint community. As we take pride on our campus being the forefront of change in the Flint community, students can contribute to these civic engagement initiatives in many ways.

Students, if any of you are interested in this position, or if you want more information please pick up the application packet from the registration table outside and submit them by October 30. Apart from that, Student Government will continue funding student organization events and conferences. This year we are looking at supporting an even wider range of student groups on campus. This by no means is a definite list of what we are and could be working on. We are always open to ideas and suggestions.

To my Student Government members, we 187 have days left in our term. It's not going to be a bed of roses but it will be an adventure. We'll have our ups and downs; our agreements and our disagreements but what makes up strong is being able to sit around a table, putting aside our differences and to think about how our choices will impact the student body.

Go out, talk and listen to the concerns our students have – and then let's think of solutions that can help address these issues and concerns. You don't have to do this alone; we are all in this together. We have our dedicated advisor Paul Artale and our passionate dean of students, Dr. Julie Snyder, who have both been a great resource and provided solid guidance for Student Government. Thank you for your wisdom and for being patient with us.

As I look around the room, I can see many past Student Government members. Many of them still reply to my midnight rants when I need ideas or advice.  Thank you for lifting Student Government to where it is today and thank you for your continuous support. To my VP, Antoine Khobeir, who is in class right now, thank you being by my side every day and calling me out when I need a reality check.

Students, faculty, staff, and administrators, we ask that you stand with us and support us in achieving our goals and initiatives. Visit us at our office at 364 UCEN. Follow us on social media. Come to our meetings on Wednesdays at 7pm.

If you can't physically be there, we live stream our meetings. Come see us and let us know how we can make a difference on campus. I urge you to join us in continuing this momentum of Maize and Blue excellence of our student body.  Thank you and forever go blue!

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