The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) represents student interests, supports campus groups and provides funding for student organizations. Recently, USG has been working on a peer mentorship initiative, a physical resource center project and is initiating a new year of discussions on safety and security, among other projects.
USG’s initiatives can come from a wide array of places.
According to Radhika Duggal, USG vice president of academic affairs, “You can come in [to USG] with whatever idea you want.”
Once one of USG’s five committees decides to pursue an idea, the committee and their vice president speak with administrators and students on how to move forward. These initiatives end either formally or informally. Informal initiatives do not require legislation while formal ones do.
Duggal’s Academic Affairs Committee has been working on easing first-year students’ transitions through peer mentorship. Peer mentorship is “something that Academic Affairs has been working on for a while,” said Duggal. “Our proposal will be to match each first-year student with a peer mentor.”
One of the main goals of this USG initiative is to, more broadly, create a more defined space for peer mentors on campus. Duggal hopes the program will also help students transition to other peer mentorship programs such as the School of Engineering’s peer mentorship program, and the peer mentorship program offered by the Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable.
There are several other projects USG has been working on. For instance, USG will also be meeting with [U]Tech in the next few weeks to collaborate on the Classroom Evaluation and Planning Committee to create a masterplan for CWRU’s class spaces. Additionally, USG hopes to create a CWRU free and for sale site independent of the Facebook page currently used by students. This site would allow students to buy and sell textbooks, school supplies and dorm essentials, and, USG hopes, lower Case Western Reserve University’s cost of attendance.
In light of CWRU’s recent campus security concerns, USG’s safety and security initiatives seem especially important. USG works with the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and other groups on the Lighting Tour, an annual event intended to “make sure students feel safe and are seen on campus,” according to USG President Maya Rao.
The tour involves a checkup on the state of the campus’s lights. USG and RHA representatives search for broken lights or places on campus that remain unlit.
Another major USG project is to create a physical resource center. Spearheaded through the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the physical resource center was described as a “free pantry,” and will include non-perishable food, and other items needed by students and faculty of CWRU, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Rao asserted, “We hope [the physical resource center] can be very helpful for students on campus.”