Student Senate Oct. 28 general body meeting recap

At their Thursday general body meeting, the Carnegie Mellon Undergraduate Student Senate held presentations on wellness at the university. “CMU is known for a lot of things. We can also be known for our wellness culture,” said Angie Lusk, program director for student affairs wellness initiatives, during a presentation to the Senate.

Thursday’s Student Senate general body meeting saw presentations about mindfulness programs and dining at Carnegie Mellon as well as two votes that approved the proposed fiscal year 2023 (FY23) Joint Funding Committee (JFC) member slate and FY23 activities fee.

Lusk presented about the state of mindfulness programs now as well as their future at Carnegie Mellon. Currently, she leads mindfulness workshops and has helped establish the Mindfulness Room in the West Wing, where she is also trying to bring back "Paws to Relax," a pet therapy session on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. She plans on growing and centralizing mindfulness programs at the university through implementing additional credited mindfulness courses, expanding existing workshops, and encouraging student-led mindfulness initiatives.

The Student Senate also heard from Director of Dining Services Joe Beaman about ongoing efforts to revive dining services at Carnegie Mellon during the pandemic. The university has a total of 10 independent dining partners, the newest being Millie’s Coffee 'n' Creamery, the Tepper School of Business’ new ice cream and coffee shop. These 10 partners are in addition to Chartwells, which provides many of the food options in Resnik House, as well as all of the options in the Cohon Center Marketplace.

Beaman reported to the Senate that the university's dining services team is working to re-staff locations closed during the initial phases of the pandemic and adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. However, he said they still face challenges in hiring, and they still have 96 shifts to fill. This has resulted in less time each location can be open per day, Beaman said.

However, he believes things are starting to get better overall: salad bars that were previously shut down from the pandemic are now up and running in Resnik House, and healthier options for sides, like side salads, are being considered. As vaccination numbers rise and COVID-19 cases decrease, dining is slowly returning to normal, Beaman said.

Finally, the Student Senate approved a 4 percent increase for the undergraduate student activities fee for FY23 with a vote of 24-5-1. For the 2021-22 school year, the activities fee is $135 per semester. The Senate also voted for the new FY23 Joint Funding Committee (JFC) slate, which is in charge of allocating funds to clubs around campus. It was approved 23-4-4.