Monday, Nov. 30 marked the last meeting of the semester for the Associated Students of NMU (ASNMU). This semester, students in ASNMU participated in a wide variety of activities, ranging from staging a political rally with state representative Steven Lindberg, to establishing a bike-share program on NMU’s campus.
Jason Morgan, president of ASNMU and junior political science major, said that he is very proud of the work that ASNMU has done this semester.
“I would give credit to the [members of ASNMU]. They aren’t afraid of taking on controversial issues or taking quick action; they are very opinionated and passionate,” he said.
One of the more controversial issues that ASNMU faced was the parking situation at the University Center, said Morgan. ASNMU is currently working with Public Safety to find a solution to the problem.
Morgan believes the ability to take quick action on issues like expanding the hours of the Wildcat Den has been very important in their efforts to make a difference to students.
“We spoke with [the director of Dining Services], and we expanded the Den hours,” said Morgan. “He asked if it could wait until next semester, and we said, ‘Not really. We think students want this now.’ And I think it’s that ability to take quick action that is really important and hasn’t been done before.”
Other projects that ASNMU has worked on include, but are not limited to, the USOEC Spirit Competition, having voter registration available in their office and expanding both the Dozing Discount and Wildcat Wallet programs.
Morgan said that ASNMU has been successful in retooling itself as a student advocacy organization.
“In the past, [ASNMU] has been seen as something that is just there. It’s seen as more of a student council, rather than a serious decision making body. I wanted to show that ASNMU’s job is to represent what students want, and I wanted to make it possible for [us] to really advocate for students,” he said.
Despite ASNMU members regularly attending hockey games and organization meetings, outreach to NMU students is something ASNMU needs to work on, said Morgan.
“My biggest goal was to have a great relationship with students. I believe we can do much, much better than we have been doing,” he said.
Josh Corbat, the vice president of ASNMU and senior secondary education and integrated science major, said that reaching out to students has been something he thinks ASNMU can improve upon.
“I think the main thing is connecting with students, and I’m proud to say that we are working on that pretty extensively,” he said.
Corbat said that a goal that he has for next semester is to fill empty seats on ASNMU’s board, something that he ran on last semester.
“This semester I have really worked hard to create a strong, diverse board,” he said. “We are going to work on filling the board and getting members to fill the few empty positions that we do have. That will bring even more perspective.”
One of the positions to be filled was held by Matthew Walther, a sophomore English graduate bound major and former representative of the College of Arts and Sciences on ASNMU. Walther said that he resigned due to time constraints.
“I didn’t think that it was a good use of my time,” he said. “I felt for all the time I spent, not a lot was being accomplished.”
Walther said that ASNMU’s focus on outreach to students was not a wise use of their time.
“I think that most students are aware of the existence of ASNMU,” said Walther. “I don’t think that outreach efforts . are necessary; the whole idea of outreach is a waste of time and a waste of money.”
Walther said that all of the representatives that he met while on ASNMU sincerely wanted to help students, but might be too ambitious concerning their projects.
“I think they need to realize that perhaps the best way to help students is to leave them alone until they need your help,” he said. “It’s good that everyone wants to help students, but wait for them to come to you.”