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20 March 2014

Student Government president highlights past year’s accomplishments

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Student Government President Bhumi Patel addresses the UM community on Thursday afternoon during the annual State of the U address delivered on the Rock. Becca Magrino // Contributing Photographer

Student Government President Bhumi Patel addresses the UM community on Thursday afternoon during the annual State of the U address delivered on the Rock. Becca Magrino // Contributing Photographer

Student Government President Bhumi Patel delivered the State of the U address Thursday at the Rock. She discussed the progress made during the academic year and the various accomplishments of student organizations.

Two of the most significant projects this year were the approval of the Ashley Kelly Memorial Pedestrian Bridge that is to be completed in 2015 to provide a safe crossing of U.S. 1 from campus, and the opening of the Student Activities Center (SAC) in August, including the development of a 24-hour study lounge and a second Starbucks.

“This building is the culmination of years of hard work and collaboration between UM students and administration,” Patel said. “The Student Activities Center has taken campus life and campus programming to new heights.”

Additional campus changes included renovations to the Mahoney-Pearson dining hall and the opening of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill in the University Center. The Wellness Center’s fitness rooms and outdoor basketball courts were renovated, and the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence was opened for student athletes.

Sophomore Shelly Morse, marketing chair for Category 5, attended the event to support fellow SG representatives and was encouraged by this year’s advancements.

“It’s really nice to see how this year has shaped out to be as far as the new Student Activities Center opening, and we had an amazing pep rally as far as the UF [University of Florida] game goes,” she said. “I know Student Government has made very big strides towards the future, and I hope that people recognize that.”

Academics have seen adjustments as well, like the eventual elimination of the Honors Program to make room for the development of a more effective option and the addition of cognates for freshman instead of general education requirements, which allows students to explore a broader range of interests.

“These cognates demonstrate to graduate schools and employers that students were focused and deliberate when selecting their classes,” Patel said. “Our Deans, faculty and academic officials are always looking for ways to improve the student experience in UM’s classrooms.”

Patel then recognized student organizations for their efforts to put together a diverse range of on-campus activities, like the monthly Canes After Dark events.

Other on-campus events connected students with well-known speakers such as Lisa Ling, Malcom Gladwell, George Takei, Juan Santos and Hillary Clinton.

This year’s changes will only be expanded in the coming years, as more plans are developed, Patel said.

“Our University is ever evolving and opportunities surround students,” she said.

Upcoming projects include a renovation of the Hecht-Stanford Dining Hall, Hurricane Food Court and other food locations on campus. The new music studio at the Frost School of Music and the new Gables UHealth facility will be opening in the next few years. Campus housing will also be changed to better accommodate students’ needs.

Incoming SG President Alessandria San Roman appreciated hearing this year’s accomplishments and is looking forward to continuing the success during her term in the next academic year.

“It accurately reflects what has been going on in our campus, and really highlighted all of the success that organizations have had,” she said. “I’m very excited to work with student organizations next year and see how we can change to better our campus. We really want to highlight working with students and really listen to their concerns.”

To see the full State of the U address, visit themiamihurricane.com/tmhtv.