IU Student Government is kicking off the new year by looking back.
IUSG has five policy committees, and each crossed several items off its agenda last semester.
The group's Diversity and Inclusion Committee worked with Jewish and Muslim organizations on campus to understand student experiences with dietary restrictions. The committee is consolidating data to understand what students feel, examine whether their needs are being met and make sure IU is being the most inclusive it can be, IUSG Chief of Staff Isabel Mishkin said.
This committee is also looking forward to the creation and implementation of an inclusion newsletter, Mishkin said.
This newsletter will be published weekly and include a rundown of events from different cultural centers and forums.
“We’re focusing on this in order to bridge the gap between different parts of campus,” Mishkin said.
The Government Relations Committee addresses issues on both a state wide and campus wide basis. Last semester, it worked to advocate for a hate crime law in Indiana, as Indiana is one of only five states currently without such a law in place.
“The committee has been convening with senators and advocacy groups,” Mishkin said. “There is more to look for here in the future, with the possibility of IU students going on the Senate floor.”
According to its leadership, IUSG also worked with the IU Residence Hall Association to update the Roommate Responsibility Rule, a policy stating residents are responsible for damages in their rooms. This change will focus the policy on the person who violated IU rules and give more understanding to their roommate if that individual did not know about the violation in their room.
The Health and Wellbeing Committee coordinated events addressing sexual health and mental health, including Mental Health Week last fall, Mishkin said. IUSG worked with other campus wellness groups to create resource posters to put in residence halls.
The Student Life Committee is focusing on building new relationships and including underrepresented students in conversations.
President Alex Wisniewski said in the last semester IUSG developed a Diversity Council subcommittee made up of major identity groups on campus. Representatives from student organizations and cultural centers come together to have a dialogue about issues important to them.
“We want to make sure every person is represented,” Mishkin said.
IUSG is interested in protecting students and protecting the environment, an ideal expressed through the Sustainability Committee, Wisniewski said.
The Sustainability Committee collaborated with RHA to make campus events more eco-friendly.
Wisniewski said that any events funded by RHA must now be green events, essentially focused on minimizing waste.
The committee is working with Sustain IU to host an event during Earth Week this spring.
The executives of IUSG also implemented changes in the past semester, focusing on increasing voter engagement for the midterms, addressing IU’s sexual misconduct system and establishing a student liaison to the Bloomington City Council.
Many of these changes fulfilled campaign promises. Others adapted those promises.
Wisniewski said that one promise was to create a marketplace within IU for students to sell textbooks. IUSG later realized that IU Classifieds was already providing that service, so it began to work with IU to promote that resource.
In the upcoming semester, Wisniewski said he wants students to know that they can turn to IUSG with ideas about new projects and initiatives.
“We want to be an advocacy group and a platform for students, somewhere that if students let us know that they want to see a change, we can be that change,” he said. “We want to empower students.”