ISG prepares for the new semester to meet student needs

Illinois+Student+Government+members+%28left+to+right%29+Jimmy+Song%2C+Conner+Josellis+and+Mariama+Mwilambwe+sit+together+for+an+interview.+

Brigida Dockus

Illinois Student Government members (left to right) Jimmy Song, Conner Josellis and Mariama Mwilambwe sit together for an interview.

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

As students return to campus for the semester, the Illinois Student Government is preparing for the new year with upcoming plans. From encouraging the University to implement a new general education requirement for sustainability classes, to providing free menstrual hygiene products all across campus, ISG is continuing to work hard to meet student needs. 

“Last semester we passed a solution resolution that hopes to work with the administration to create sustainability general education requirement for classes,” said Connor Josellis, student body president.  

According to the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment website, there are over 500 sustainability courses offered on campus that discuss many aspects regarding sustainability. 

ISG has implemented this proposal in hopes of getting the student body more engaged in the world and educated in topics concerning the environment. According to Bugra Sahin, chair of environmental sustainability, due to the current issues all around the world today, ISG feels it is important that all students do their part in learning about sustainability. 

“Having this many classes provides a really good offered opportunity for the University to be able to prepare these students in any field, to be able to go out there and utilize these classes and see how they can contribute in their respective fields,” Sahin said. 

After brainstorming the proposal, ISG conducted a survey of about 500 people. Around 90% of them said they thought implementing these courses would be a good idea. 

To further develop this proposal, ISG has been in contact with Andreas Cangellaris, the vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, who was inclined to further progress the project. Sahin will also be in contact the administration responsible for the general education requirements to work on this proposal more in-depth. 

“I’m trying to set up a meeting with the General Education Requirements Committee, and I want to engage more with the people who are in charge of setting these things and see how it takes us, and I think it’s going in a pretty good direction,” Sahin said.

The second major plan ISG has for the semester is to continue moving forward with the menstrual hygiene program. 

The program was initiated last year by Susan Zhao, who wanted to put free menstrual hygiene products across campus so women could receive the proper care needed in case of an emergency.

“We’ve been working with (Facilities and Services) to retrofit the dispensers to make it so that you no longer need to put money in the dispensers in order to have the products dropped out. So pretty much it makes it free,” said Susan Zhao, speaker of the Senate. 

ISG has managed to create a pilot program, in agreement with F&S, in buildings around the Main Quad and Undergraduate Library to observe how well the program will run. 

This program came to be because of previous data provided by the ISG, which stated the University does not profit out of these dispensaries, and it did not benefit the facilities at all anyway. 

“We discovered that the University already operates at a loss on these programs, on these dispensaries, even when they do charge money for them. So since it’s not an actual source of profit for the University, then we might as well just make the products free in the first place,” Zhao said.

Since there was a large financial component to the program, ISG provided the funding to retrofit the dispensers, while F&S covered the cost of the products and manpower needed.

“I am hoping that in the future the ISG won’t need to fund the continuation of these programs anymore and the University will just do it on their own after they’ve seen the success of our pilot program,” Zhao said.

As of now, the goal is to expand the program into the Engineering Quad, campus recreation buildings and the Illini Union as well as organizing a task force to implement this program in various buildings across campus

“I am considering creating a task force to expand the program, and since I am graduating next year, I am really hoping to find students who will help me continue this project,” Zhao said.

In general, ISG hopes to continue their current work and help the student body in any shape or form as needed. To strengthen the bond between the student government and the student body, there have been various events ISG has hosted and will be hosting throughout the year in order to encourage more discussion.

“This past year, we started doing ISG outreach events that we call the listening sessions on various cultural houses,” Josellis said. “We want to continue doing that. We want to reach out to average student on the corner of this campus and get them involved.”

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