“I’m proud of the progress we have made,” Student Government (SG) President Nawara Alawa said.
Many of the platforms the ticket campaigned on last spring are now in motion.
One of those was the plan to reform the general education requirements. Now, freshmen who enter UM this year and the next will be able to opt into a new system that will be composed of categories or “cognates,” Alawa said.
The new system for general education requirements will have three categories: people and society, arts and humanities, and STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students will be able to take any class as long as they can logically argue that it fits into one of the three areas.
Additionally, transcripts will reflect what proficiencies a student has acquired based on the classes they have taken.
Freshmen who enter in the fall of 2014 will be required to participate in the system.
“If you are choosing what you want, you are more likely to take charge of your education,” Alawa said.
SG is also working toward providing students with a free fifth year of education through the “Plus 1 Scholars Program.”
Modeled after the University of Rochester’s “Take 5 Scholars Program,” this initiative would allow students to pursue interests they were otherwise prohibited from studying in their majors.
According to Alawa, three deans are on board for this scholarship, but before proceeding further, they must acquire funds and the support of all administrators.
Students like junior Rebecca Epstein, a health science major, think the program would benefit the student body.
“Students would go outside their major without having to worry about money,” she said. “A lot of students would be interested in the program.”
Another platform that will soon be implemented is a mural in the new Student Activities Center that students will be able to decorate.
The mural will feature student art, featuring students’ UM bucket lists and chalkboards that students will be able to doodle on.
“You can resonate with something that is on the wall,” Alawa said.
Freshman Liz Scanlon is looking forward to the new mural.
“I like that they have permanent art and that you can also doodle,” Scanlon said. “It will be great for when we’re playing rivals.”
For the upcoming semester, SG is planning Orange Fest for the Friday before the start of spring break. The event will honor the new Iron Arrow tappees, the start of spring break and the orange blossom, which is the inspiration for UM’s school colors.
Other projects for the spring include implementing Redbox machines into the dorms, an “Iron Chef America”-inspired competition in the dining halls, and formalizing and expanding the Canes Network – a group of businesses who offer benefits for Cane Card holders.
Most recently, SG will also be revamping the annual State of the U Address.
This year, the event will also include student leaders from other areas of campus, such as Greek leaders, student media and other organizations.
“This will showcase all the amazing things happening around campus, not just one group,” Alawa said. “Students with interest in one area, will learn about other aspects of campus.”