External Affairs Committee

carson.lemahieu

Recently-elected ASNMU President Hobie Webster has taken the first steps towards fulfilling his vision for the future of the program, as he has filled vacant spots on the Associated Students of Northern Michigan University (ASNMU) board and worked to create the external affairs committee.

“The external affairs committee is the first big project we started working on at the end of the year,” Webster said. “It’s obviously still in the development phase, but it will have three key responsibilities: keeping in contact with the city and county commissions, getting involved in local service organizations and keeping abreast with financial issues in Lansing.”

Webster said that the committee was created in part to help Northern move forward with the new master plan which was unveiled last fall. The plan includes initiatives to increase Northern student involvement in the Marquette community.

“Right now there is no real connection between what we do as ASNMU and what the city is doing,” Webster said. “The majority of our students actually live in the Marquette community rather than on campus, so issues that are affecting the community are also issues that affect many students.”

The committee will be composed of three members of the ASNMU board and also a chair person to oversee committee actions. Each member will be in charge of one aspect of the committee.

Webster said one of the most important branches of the committee is the person who will monitor activity in the state legislature and lobby for increased funding for Northern. The nominee will be in charge of following news related to college funding being passed through the house committee on higher education funding, the house appropriations committee and the senate appropriations committee.

“There is no issue that is as dramatically important to students as tuition, and having constant vigilance to what the state is doing is vital,” Webster said.

In addition to the creation of the external affairs committee, Webster has also worked to fill the spots which remained vacant after April’s elections.

Currently 24 of the 28 board positions have been filled. At the end of last semester the board consisted of only 14 members.

New Director of Information and Technology Jeff Thomas said he got involved with ASNMU because he was excited with the direction the organization was moving.

“I was very excited to see Hobie (Webster) and the other progressive roundtable students have a clear vision for ASNMU,” Thomas said. “I wanted to be a part of it and my skill set was a natural match.”

Thomas is currently revamping the ASNMU Web site.

The remaining unfilled spots are two College of Professional Studies representatives and two General Studies representatives.

Webster said the focus is now on getting incoming freshmen to fill the general studies positions – positions that have been notoriously hard to fill because the applicant must currently not have a declared major or an individually constructed program.

“It’s incredibly important (to have the spots filled) because these positions are based on your personal experiences at NMU,” Webster said. “Each rep is selected based on their ability to represent themselves essentially because they are part of their own constituency. The experience of a technology major who spends all day in the Jacobetti Building will be much different than that of an art student.”

Despite the currently open positions, Webster remains optimistic that ASNMU will open the school year with a full board.

“We have a very good opportunity to go into the year with a full board,” Webster said. “Certainly within the first few weeks of the school year we will have all 29 spots filled. I can not recall ASNMU ever having a fully functional government for any sustainable period.”